In November 2022, the new Visually Impaired Support Grant Programme, aimed at addressing non-sports-related challenges for visually impaired individuals, began accepting applications. Five organisations were selected and, by June 2023, they had completed their respective projects. The results include the purchase of essential equipment for visually impaired individuals to lead independent lives, the organisation of training workshops to learn to use this equipment, and improved access for those who had difficulty receiving support.
The projects included new initiatives, support for existing projects run by each organisation, and complementary activities to enhance organisational capabilities. The primary beneficiaries included individuals with visual impairments or multiple disabilities, particularly vulnerable groups such as youth, women, and children.
Below, we provide a concise overview of the achievements of each organisation’s project:
● Deafblind Association of Honduras
In San Pedro Sula, Cortes, Honduras, the organisation conducted Braille display training for 23 males and females aged 5 to 20 and 8 males and females aged 21 to 60 (including those with visual and auditory impairments). Sixty-three percent of the beneficiaries were girls or women. This training expanded information access, with expected increases in education and employment opportunities. Braille displays are costly and must be imported from the United States, making personal acquisition difficult. Additionally, new white canes were purchased and proper usage was taught.
*White cane: A cane used by visually impaired individuals to detect obstacles and guide them while moving.
*Braille display: A device that converts text information into tactile Braille. It can be connected to PCs or smartphones. for information access.
● Football Association for the Blind of Bengal
In Kolkata, West Bengal, India, the organisation distributed white canes and Braille devices to 70 boys aged 9 to 15 and 25 blind football players (including 5females) and provided training on their usage. Additionally, the association distributed essential learning materials such as paper and alphabet numeral charts. Requests were made from schools for increased distribution of such materials due to insufficient basic learning supplies.
*Braille device: A tool used for writing Braille known as a slate and stylus
● Fundación Luis Braille de Honduras
In San Pedro Sula, Cortes, Honduras, 50 males and females aged 5 to 60 were targeted. Thirty women (60% of the total direct beneficiaries) and twenty men (40%), as well as their families as indirect beneficiaries, now have easier access to information thanks to the introduction of a Braille embosser (printer) at the organisation’s educational facilities, allowing for daily Braille conversion of textbooks and necessary work-related information. This significantly increased the amount of accessible information. These achievements benefited not only the targeted individuals but also their families. Similar to the first organisation, these devices are also imported from the United States and are both expensive and difficult to purchase.
*Braille embosser: A device that inputs alphabetic text and prints it in Braille.
● Nigeria Association of the Blind (NAB)
In Lagos, Nigeria, ten females aged 22 to 52 were trained in the usage of Braille displays and white canes. Nigeria has a deeply ingrained patriarchal society, making it challenging for women, and in particular women with disabilities, to assume socially responsible positions. The workshop aimed to reduce information gaps and mobility restrictions, especially for visually impaired women, who face even greater disparities compared to sighted women.
● Zanzibar National Association of the Blind (ZANAB)
To support the operations of the organisation based on Zanzibar Island, Tanzania, ZANAB purchased PCs, printers, and office supplies. The lack of office automation equipment in the organisation’s branches hindered support activities for visually impaired individuals. The introduction of office automation equipment supported the operations of 11 branches and contributed to the support ZANAB provides to 536 males and females aged 18 to 75 across the branches.
Tools to support visually impaired individuals already exist, but they are often expensive and, in many countries, their availability is limited, making personal acquisition difficult. Each beneficiary organisation leveraged its technical expertise, knowledge and local presence to provide direct and effective support to visually impaired individuals. These organisations work tirelessly to ensure that support reaches each visually impaired individual facing these challenges.
IBF Foundation, which provided the grants for non-sports-related activities for the first time, will continue to collaborate closely with our partner organisations to support their activities in the future.