Ensure visually impaired learners have access to reading material

By Abigirl Tembo
As the word commemorates World Braille Day, concern has been raised on the need to ensure learners who are visually impaired have access to reading material during the Covid-19 induced lockdown.

Twenty-one year old Laura Muzambi is visually impaired but that does not define her.
Thanks to Braille, a system of touch reading and writing for the visually impaired, Laura is now among the 230 students at the University of Zimbabwe Law School.
“I have always wanted to be a lawyer so I can be able to defend the rights of visually impaired people,” she said.
“As a mother I have watched her quest for education and I always encourage her to other parents I urge them to support their children especially those with disabilities,” said her mother.
But for Laura, the journey has been riddled with many challenges which are also being compounded by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“In as much as I want to read but sometimes there are no books to read and I have to rely on another person to read for me. Also with Covid-19 it has been difficult for us because we live our lives through our hands” she said.
St Giles Special needs teacher, Trust Mutekwa bemoans the unavailability and expensive nature of Braille materials.
“She has always been a star. We are in a global health crisis. We have closed schools, let’s create platforms for visually impaired people, braille paper is very expensive. We need to provide braille paper as a nation,” he said.
Mutekwa has during the first lockdown period managed to translate the Constitution of Zimbabwe into Braille and will soon be handing over the book to the Parliament of Zimbabwe.

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