By Bakah Derick
Leaders of Civil Society Organizations have reacted favourably to the statement by the Cameroon Human Rights Commission (CHRC) ahead of the 2023 World Braille Day. The statement published on Tuesday January 3, 2023 nearly 24hours to the observance urges government to provide teaching materials to support visually impaired and ensure information accessibility for visually impaired at all levels.
Reacting to the statement, the president of Hope Social Union for Visually Impaired (HSUVI) hailed the national rights commission for considering their plight on such an important issue.
"I hail the statement by the Human Rights Commission to ask the government to spread the awareness and by training more persons on the usage of braile. I think this is a welcome relief." Peter Tonain said
"It is a very good move by the Cameroon Human Rights Commission to call on government and private stakeholders to pay attention to the needs of persons with visual impairment... I salut the call because it goes a long way to increase the possibilities of persons with visual impairment attending higher heights in education. I am particular grateful to the Human Rights Commission at this moment when Cameroon recently (December 2021) ratified the UN convention on the rights of persons with disabilities. It comes at this moment to say that this convention whose article 24 talks elaborately about the educational rights of persons with disabilities; persons with visual impairment inclusive. I can only say that this is the right moment to put national and International laws together to promote the right of braile users." Chick Sama Coordinator of the Coordinating Unit of Association of Persons with Disabilities (CUAPWD) reacted.
Both civil society leaders are also using the observance to make demands to improve on the living environment of persons with visual impairment.
"Braile as it is being celebrated this January 4, is that medium of writing and reading by those with visual impairment and many with this condition have not gone to school because they lack specialists in many parts of the country and even when the few are available, they are very expensive making education centralized forcing persons with visual impairment to write exams in one or two centers." Chick Sama explained while tasking government and other institutions to make braile closest to the visually impaired as must as possible so as to give them equal opportunities with their sighted peers when education is concerned.
Peter Tonain who has been using braile for over 30 years and describes himself as a perfect user believes that he and many other competent braile users could be used to facilitate the training of learners to increase the proximity of the precious tool for visually impaired around the country.
Chick Sama corroborates by insisting that such qualified qualified users when used for the purpose should be property paid and not considered philanthropists as is often the case.
The leader of the Coordinating Unit of Association of Persons with Disabilities considers the statement by the national rights commission as an uncommon addition to the already existing advocacy to ensure that persons with visual impairment will read, write, gain jobs and live an independent life.