New Era (Windhoek)

9 January 2013

Namibia: Computers for Visually Impaired

The Namibia Federation of the Visually Impaired (NFVI) will this year introduce a computer literacy course for visually impaired people.

Introducing the visually impaired to computers is done through voice-over or talking software installed on computers and during lessons the students use headphones to avoid disturbances. The software, called non-visual desktop access, read out the words and instructions to users. The course will commence in February. The NFVI is a non-governmental organisation that promotes the wellbeing of visually impaired and partially sighted people by amongst others rehabilitating them. It provides various training programmes for the visually impaired.

The National Coordinator at the NFVI, Daniel Trum yesterday said the organisation, has for a long time thought of introducing a computer course for visually impaired people. Trum had earlier expressed concern that visually impaired people are excluded from the current developments in the country.

"Everything is far from us, nothing is user friendly," Trum said in a previous interview. However, yesterday Trum was delighted with the donation of about N$40 000 from Namibia Customs Smelter, which will enable the the organisation to purchase seven computers and one printer.

Trum explained that only twelve students have been admitted for the computer literacy course. Students will be divided in groups to ensure that each one of them has a chance to use a computer.

"I feel very proud that the course was introduced. Visually impaired people lag behind when it comes to computer skills. I hope my colleagues will in future be empowered to use computers," said Tjijangalala Manasse, a Braille instructor at the NFVI.

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