Catholic Relief Services

Baltimore, Maryland, USA   |   Non profit

Children with low vision/blinidness at Resource Center for the Blind

Project Name
Literacy for Visually Impaired Persons (VIPs)

Location Implemented
Maseru, Lesotho

Organization Website
http://www.crsprogramquality.org/

Organization Type
Non profit



Challenge
A 2010 Education Statistics Report released by the Lesotho Ministry of Education and Training revealed that about 5.3% of the national primary school population in 2010 are blind/low vision. Teachers of these students expressed extreme difficulty in accessing braille materials adapted from the national curriculum to meet the needs of their students. Teachers, therefore, improvise lesson plans to accommodate these students which often hinders the ability of students to transition into mainstream schools. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that there is an extreme cost burden of reading for people who are blind/low vision. Their report states, “There are estimated 285 million [people who are blind/low vision] worldwide and 90% of them live in developing countries. At this moment the cost of a braille printer is more than $2,000 for a basic version. Thus many millions of people across the world have limited access.”

Solution
The Literacy for VIPs program will provide training and braille technology to teachers at the St. Bernadette Resource Center for the Blind to assist their instruction of students who are blind/low vision. The Mountbatten Pro Brailler (MB Pro) features include an ergonomic Braille keyboard, memory, speech feedback, and, most importantly, the ability to translate from braille to print and print to braille (including through Bluetooth connection). This feature assists teachers who may not be literate in braille and facilitates teaching to persons who are blind/low vision for these teachers. The Jot-a-Dot portable brailler modernizes braille learning through its six-key braille entry system. It allows young learners a speedy, portable method for learning braille and prepares them to use larger, more powerful braillers.

Project Reach
35 students with potential expansion to students who are blind/low vision in all mainstream schools in Lesotho

Collaborators/Partners
St. Bernadette Resource Center for the Blind, The Ministry of Education and Training, Lesotho National League of Visually Impaired Persons, The Examination Council of Lesotho, Lesotho National Federation of Organizations for the Disabled, Harpo Adaptive Technologies, Perkins School for the Blind.
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