The 8th September every year is International Literacy Day by UNESCO to remind the international community of the importance of literacy for individuals, communities and societies, and the need for intensified efforts towards more literate societies. In Rwanda this day is celebrated on similar date. In order to insist on how literacy is very important to people, The Government of Rwanda decided to have one month of sensitizing to its population to practice the culture of reading. This year (2020) this month is scheduled from 21st September 2020 to 21st October 2020, the month with different activities and initiatives to help different categories of Rwandans to have the habit of reading and writing.
Launching this month, live on Rwanda National Television, the state minister in charge of culture in the Ministry of Youth and Culture, Mr. Edouard BAMPORIKI indicated that the Government of Rwanda wants Rwandans to adopt a culture of reading because it is a good practice that is considered as a nourishment and enrichment of the human brain. He added that this culture will help Rwandans to acquire more knowledge they will transfer to their children. Consequently this will honor the traditional culture, where the elders used to record stories with their minds and transfer them to their children (oral transmission), before they knew how to write.
Throughout this launch, it comes the subject of not leaving behind persons with disabilities especially learners on access to reading. Mr. SAFARI William, the Education for All (EFA) project manager at NUDOR (National Union of Disability Organizations in Rwanda) who was live at Rwanda National Television RTV via Skype, informed the government and other stakeholders that some persons with different categories of disabilities are left behind in the Reading culture initiative. He underlined and argued on the fact that braille documents are not made available within the libraries found in different places of the country, the format that is accessible to persons with vision impairment to read. Additionally, he mentioned that even in schools there are not enough books in this format (braille) to enable learners with vision impairment to follow lessons together with their colleagues who do not have any disability. Therefore William requested the Government and other partners in this sector to put more effort in finding those documents used by persons with disabilities, in order to not leave them behind with this initiative of sensitizing all Rwandans to read.
Nevertheless the initiative of the Government and its partners to look for solutions to this problem (lack of braille documents for people with vision impairment) is a long process because until now there as indicated by Mr. William, there is not even a way of having and storing technology braille documentation that can help persons with vision impairment. This technology can intensively contribute to literacy for vision impairment people because braille documents took hundreds and hundreds times in number of sheets when it comes to having written documents.
Personally, what do you think can be done by the Rwandan Government to resolve the problem of lack of documentation for Persons with vision impairment? Leave us a reply below.