Audio and Braille books bring joy to the blind

Sithandiwe Velaphi

In a bid to support the visually disabled community, the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality, recently launched a free audio and Braille book service at the Elukhanyisweni public Llibrary in KwaNobuhle in Uitenhage.

The project is a joint initiative between the provincial department of arts and culture and the South African Library for the Blind and has been rolled out to eleven public libraries throughout the province.

Elukhanyisweni library is the only one in Nelson Mandela Bay currently offering this service.

According to project coordinator, Pumla Mahanjana, all of the 11 public libraries have been provided with furniture and equipment to aid the visually impaired individuals. Theseinclude audio readers, document readers, computer software, Braille books and other services.

“Not only does this open up opportunities for the visually impaired, it also assists those who are illiterate to benefit from the service,” said Mahanjana.

Nelson Mandela Bay municipal spokesperson Kupido Baron said staff at each library was trained to assist users of the equipment. Baron said public library workshops were also held for members of the local community in order to train them on the equipment, as well as to raise awareness of the facilities available.

Thembisa Blouw from Khanyisa School for the Blind pupil, , said she was pleased with the new facilities available for the visually disabled community.

“I am excited to use the new equipment at the library. At Khanyisa we make use of such facility and it is good to know that our library has also made provision for us as visually disabled residents,” said Blouw.

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