Tebogo Msimanga |
Blind and partially sighted persons have very limited access to published works. It is estimated that less than 0.5% of published works is available in accessible formats (braille, daisy, audio or large print).
Blind SA Bookshare is a free library service that will enable blind and partially sighted persons to borrow hundreds of thousands of books in braille, daisy, audio and epub. These books can be read on the computer, smart phones or dedicated book readers.
Bookshare is an ebook library that helps people with disabilities gain employment, pursue education, and enjoy leisure books.
Chairperson of Blind SA Committee on Accessible Publications, Equipment and Assistive Devices, Christo de Klerk said Blind SA has signed a partnership with US Based nonprofit, Benetech, to establish a free library of accessible ebooks for blind and low-vision South Africans, as well as those with print disability.
“Members will have access to more than half a million unique titles in 5 accessible formats, totaling to more than 2.5 million reading options.” Said de Klerk.
He said Blind SA had to foot the bill of approximately R500 000 in order to set up the Blind SA Bookshare Library and for the annual license and technical support so that the library service may be offered at no charge to blind and partially sighted readers.
An appeal is made to corporate South Africa and the caring community to contribute at least R25 towards this project. (https://donations.blindsa.org.za/campaign-braille)
To Sign Up for Blind SA Bookshare visit www.blindsa.org.za and click on Blind SA Bookshare for application forms.