Braille printing centre offers unique service

A church-run centre for disabled people in the Oshikoto Region provides a vital service with limited resources.

09 June 2020 | Social Issues

ILENI NANDJATO

ONIIPA



There is a high demand for Braille printing in Namibia and only one place that provides this service to blind Namibians - a centre at Oniipa in the Oshikoto Region.

The centre is run by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia (ELCIN).

The head of the centre, Lempy Kamati, says unlike other printers they import most of their materials and maintenance equipment from South Africa and it is very expensive.



Clientele

In an interview with Namibian Sun Kamati said the centre offers Braille printing services for visually impaired people in all 14 regions of Namibia.

The Namibian College of Open Learning (Namcol), Eluwa Special School and Gabriel Taapopi Secondary School at Ongwediva, Dr Romanus Kampungu Secondary School at Rundu, University of Namibia (Unam) and the ministry of education are among the institutions that depend on their services.

“There is a high demand for Braille printing services because every visually impaired Namibian depends on our centre. From people in communities to institutions, they are all making use of our services. We translate school books, bibles and other publications into Braille and print them,” said Kamati.

“The centre has also partnered with different stakeholders such as the ministry of education and ministry of health to provide a comprehensive suite of services that will allow the beneficiaries of its services, which includes learners and adults alike, to live in dignity as full citizens of our country.”



Support

In 2014 the centre received Braille printing equipment and software funded by the Millennium Challenge Account Namibia (MCA-N) to the tune of more than N$2 million.

The donation consisted of nine desktop computers, two scanners, two cameras, a variety of software packages, Braille proofreading tables and two double-sided Braille embosser kits.

Kamati said the aim of the MCA donation was to develop the Braille section since the ELCIN Rehabilitation Centre was previously using unreliable equipment.

She said despite this donation the centre is still faced with the challenge of maintaining the centre and equipment.

“Braille printing is offered on special paper that is not available in Namibia. Machines and equipment also get serviced or repaired outside the country at a very high cost. We acquire all these services from South Africa and we have to pay for transport costs as well,” Kamati said.

“This means all the money we make is put it back into the centre's maintenance.”

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