business

Nov. 5, 2021

NEO SENOKO

3 min read

Vodacom launches library for visually impaired persons

Vodacom launches library for visually impaired persons

VCL Managing Director, Mohale Ralebitso

Story highlights

  • Project is part of VCL CSI initiatives to help improve lives of visually impaired people
  • Facility will give the blind access to books and specialised services

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VODACOM Lesotho through its charitable arm, the Vodacom Lesotho Foundation on Tuesday announced the official opening of Vodacom Insight Centre, a library for the blind and visually impaired persons.

Situated at the State Library in Maseru, the centre will among others enable equal access and inclusion by providing visually impaired persons with specialised services, books, and materials in appropriate media.

“At the heart of the Vodacom Foundation Insight centre is a focus on accessibility. We are excited to launch this project as part of our CSI initiatives to help improve the lives of visually impaired people through the use of technology.

“As a purpose-led corporate citizen, we have committed to harnessing the power of technology to address social challenges and ensure that we leave no one behind and the opening of this digital library is a testament to that commitment,” Vodacom Lesotho Managing Director, Mohale Ralebitso said.

Supported by Vodacom’s 4G technology, the digital library hosts the latest innovation and technology with functionalities including but not limited to a world leading braille translator that supports more than 170 languages in either contacted or un-contacted braille.

It also includes a high volume production braille printer, a self-contained motion activated reading device that instantly reads from any book or printed material and a rechargeable digital talking book reader, which enables visually impaired people or those with print disabilities to read digital documents on memory cards or memory sticks.

John Matlosa, Chairman of the Vodacom Lesotho Foundation Board of Trustees John Matlosa stated during the event that the Foundation is mandated to invest in critical areas of development, in line with the Government’s National Strategic Development Plan (NSDP) and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

“This programme is in line with Sustainable Development Goal 4 to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities and we are only happy to contribute to the provision of equal access and inclusion to the blind and visually impaired persons through the creation of enabling environment for them to access information,” he said.

Mr Matlosa further showed that the Foundation seeks to fulfill the promise to read for the visually impaired and other print-disabled people by advocating for the implementation of the changes required by the Marrakesh Treaty to which Lesotho is a signatory.

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The Marrakesh Treaty is mandated to facilitate access to published works for persons who are blind or otherwise print-disabled through the improvement of access to knowledge for print-disabled people by giving organisations like libraries the right to reproduce printed works in accessible formats such as braille, audio, large print, digital formats and to exchange these works across national borders.

Established in 2009, the Vodacom Lesotho Foundation invests in critical areas of development in line with the government’s National Strategic Development Plan.

Since 2009, the Foundation has invested over M100 million in the areas of health, education, social welfare, gender equality and women empowerment, sports and cultural development.

The Foundation in partnership with the Vodafone Foundation has committed to invest a further M120 million into Lesotho over the next five years in the areas of entrepreneurship and economic development, education and health.

 

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