‘The visually-challenged in dire need of access to information’ 

December 22, 2018 - 20:23

TEHRAN- The visually impaired people have hardly access to written and digital sources of information, according to Soheil Moeini, a blind journalist who runs the Bavar ('Belief') non-governmental organization. 

To solve this problem, the regular sources of information should change into formats that are accessible for people with visual impairment, he said in an interview with IRNA on Thursday.

“There is a major gap between the visually challenged and other people in their level of access to sources of information, including books, magazines, and educational content,” said Moeini.
“There are less than ten journals in Braille, and the available ones are mostly periodicals published in long intervals,” he added.

Even though the higher education system accepts students with visual impairment, it has no obligation to provide them with information resources.Shortage of educational content
“Based on the resolution passed by the cabinet of ministers regarding the rights of people with disabilities in Iranian calendar year 1394 (ended on March 20, 2016), the visually impaired should have access to the journals, so we have called on the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance to fulfil our needs, but they haven’t yet taken any action,” said Moeini regretfully. 

“Even though the higher education system accepts students with visual impairment, it has no obligation to provide them with information resources,” announced Moeini. 

“According to the law, the expanses of visually impaired students for higher education are covered by the government, but unfortunately the universities don’t feel responsible to provide such students with information accessible to them,” he further noticed.


Call for empowering programs
According to Moeini, people with vision loss have great difficulty fending for themselves, as they usually have to deal with unemployment and low-paid jobs.

“The problem is that there are no programs in any governmental or non-governmental organizations for empowering the individuals with vision loss; by empowering programs we mean teaching the visually challenged the skills to live independently,” he explained.

According to the data released by Iran’s Welfare Organization, there are currently 150,000 people with complete vision loss in the country, and 350,000 people suffer from visual impairment.

SJ/MQ/MG

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