Pakistan awarded grant by Japan for Braille equipment

KARACHI: The consul general of Japan in Karachi, Tosikazu Isomura, at his residence on Thursday signed an agreement for a grant for a project to equip Pakistan Association of the Blind [PAB] with Braille equipment.

Under the project, $88,220 will be provided to the PAB. The amount covers the cost of four Braille displays and four Braille printer sets, including Braille papers, software and repair kits.

PAB was established in 1960 with the objective to make “blind persons able, self-relying, respectable and productive members of society by creating a sense of equal participation in them in aspects of life.”

Mr Isomura spoke about how the equipment, under the grant assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects (GGP) scheme, would help the visually impaired access technology and educational material and would allow them to become more independent and contribute to their sustenance as well as to society.

‘This is just the start of such collaborations’

“This is just the start of such collaborations,” he said. “The Braille printers will allow textbooks in more subjects to be printed and distributed, and around 12,000 people will benefit from this technology annually,” he added.

Iftikhar Shallwani, secretary for law, was present as a representative of the government of Sindh, and spoke about how legislation in the province aimed to benefit human rights, disabled people, and differently-abled persons.

Amir Ashraf, PAB general secretary, spoke about the various contributions of the organisation for the visually impaired with more than 50 chapters set up throughout the country. He praised the efforts of the Japanese government that would in turn provide educational facilities to blind children in Sindh, and especially Karachi.

“Blind persons are deprived and when they are not provided facilities they are more deprived. Braille is the main source of communication for a blind child and it helps him in his studies. At the moment we are short of Braille books and Braille press and this programme will be of great support.”

He also requested the law minister to set up a meeting of the PAB with Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah so that the problems of the blind in Sindh could be addressed by the higher authorities.

Mr Matsuda, CEO of Transacross, also spoke at the event. This is the 19th GGP project to be implemented by the consulate general of Japan in Karachi since 2009.

Japanese calendar exhibition

Earlier in the day, the inauguration ceremony of the Japanese calendar exhibition 2018 was held at the Japanese Information and Cultural Centre.

This year the calendars exhibited poetic images of Japan and its beautiful people, culture and landscape — natural and man-made.

From the four seasons, the kimonos, Japanese gardens and landscapes, and enchanting waterside views, the calendars offered different flavour to Japanese life.

The 2001 Japanese animated fantasy film Spirited Away, written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki and produced by Studio Ghibli, was also screened.

Usman Riaz, director of Mano Animation Studios, was present and shared his journey of working on the first feature hand-drawn animation made in Pakistan, The Glassworker. He also showed a few minutes of the completed animated film.

Published in Dawn, January 19th, 2018

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