Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The 231st good thing about Lagos: getting braille books to the blind in Nigeria

The Nigerwives Braille Book Production Centre is a charity that was created by the Nigerwives women's organization, a group that is made up of women from many nationalities who married Nigerian men and so are often permanent residents of Nigeria. They saw the need for books for the blind in Nigeria and found the means and know-how to make it happen. They operate out of 4 container buildings in some extra land that a university lets them use. They primarily print textbooks for school children.

They hire a number of visually impaired workers, who are well trained in their jobs. The man in the foreground of this photo proofreads all the books before they send them out. I bet he has tired and sore fingers at the end of the day.

They showed us the machines they use to emboss the pages with braille.

They have a computer training room where they have classes teaching visually impaired the adaptive technology that allows them to use the computer. The man on the right showed us how the computer voices all the commands so the user knows what is happening on the screen. He was well versed in Skype -- when we came up to him he had several Skype conversations going. He said Skype had changed his life. ;o)

One container building is stacked with donated boxes and paper. They are always needing donations of the thick paper they need to emboss for their braille books -- like calendars or company catalogs or promotional materials. They do get some books donated by an agency in the States. They are somewhat amused by the Braille books from the States that are printed on clean, new paper. They said the blind aren't aware that pages with braille have other printing on them, so there is no problem with recycling paper previously used for other things. The machine in this picture cuts the paper to the size they need for the books. They collect boxes for sending out the books. They also appreciate donations of other kinds of paper, which they sell to get funds for other things they need. I always save my boxes and magazines to bring to them.

There's a group of expat spouses (can't say "women" because there was a male trailing spouse who was a regular worker) who regularly meet here and cut paper for the braille books.
I'm hoping this year that I can fit it into my schedule.

Although I was really itching to get in there and organize their space, I really do appreciate the important work they are doing here -- getting training and education to the visually impaired in Nigeria. I also like how they are providing jobs for the visually impaired. That's a really good thing.

1 comment:

Bradly Jones said...

Thanks for the post. It's like five years of not being in Nigeria has finally made me out-dated for this to be news to me. The change is amazing. making books in Braille, fantastic. Great blog!

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