Raising awareness on Braille Day

2020-01-08 06:00
Blind and partially sighted people commemorated Braille Day on January 4. photo: sourced

Blind and partially sighted people commemorated Braille Day on January 4. photo: sourced

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BRAILLE Day is commemorated on January 4 every year to raise awareness on the importance of braille as a means of communication while acknowledging the rights of the blind and partially sighted people at the same time.

During this time, blind people around the world hold programmes to honour Louis Braille, through whom information access is now possible.

Louis Braille, is also believed to be the father of the literacy for the blind.

He invented a system of reading and writing for people who are blind or virtually impaired.

According to the World Health Organisation, 285 million people are visually impaired – more than one third of these cases are due to cataract.

Monique Snyman from Snyman Optometrist in Greytown said most cataracts occur due to ageing.

“However certain systemic diseases such as diabetes, or chronic use or certain medication, such as cortisone can cause a cataract to develop earlier in life. Trauma or injury to the eye can also cause a cataract to develop,” Snyman said.

A report released by Census 2011 called ‘Profile of person with disabilities in South Africa’, revealed that the national disability prevalence rate is 7,5% in South Africa. In 2011. KwaZulu- Natal had a total of 620 481 people with disabilities – with a high figure of women with disabilities leading by 1682 071 compared to 1188 059 for men with disabilities. The report also revealed that “ageing has profound negative impact on the prevalence of disability in seeing.”

The Census report said: “There is low labour market absorption of persons with disabilities. The degree of difficulty is related to economic participation, with increased difficulty being associated with a decrease in labour market participation. In five of the six functional domains, employment levels were highest among persons with no difficulty and lowest among persons with severe difficulties across the provinces.

Employment levels are higher for persons with sight disability compared with other disability types.”

A report released by the office of the President in February last year, revealed that people with disabilities are still facing challenges such as getting jobs.

This emerged at a meeting of the Presidential Working Disability Group in Pretoria on February 26, 2019.

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