The most recent post of Blind Buzz on Accessibility is full of inspirational stories and wonderful news about advances in technology that will help people who are blind and visually impaired. I thought that I would pass some of these on:
In Jordan, blind women are learning the skills necessary to become hairdressers. A story from The Jordan Times tells about a program which aims to empower and boost the self-confidence of its participants by teaching them to “see with their fingertips,” training them to curl hair and apply makeup. Since scissors are off limits, the women will be able to advance as far as assistant hairdressers. Still, one woman describes her dream of opening her own shop.
Another story, also from the Middle East, is taken from the New York Times. Hayat Khalil Hassan Nazar Heji went blind when she was in fifth grade. At the time, her country of Qatar did not have many services for the blind. Her government sent her to be educated in the US, were she learned English and earned a PhD. She now directs a school for the blind in Qatar, where children learn both academic skills and ways to change popular perceptions of the blind.
Turning from education to entertainment, the post has stories about two audio-only games. Audioracer is a free online game on Kongregate that allows sighted, visually impaired, and blind people to play together. Visitors to the site are asked to “Turn on the sound and listen carefully.” The second game mentioned is Cadet 227 an audio-only game made completely for blind players. The story contains an interview with creator Alexander Shen. After noticing a blind man riding the train with him every day, Shen was inspired to develop a game that blind people could enjoy.
There are links to several more stories on the Blind Buzz post, but I will close with a story about a nonprofit organization, Internet Archive in San Francisco, that has hired hundreds of people to scan thousands of books into its digital archives in order to address the problem of a scarcity of digitized books available to the blind and visually impaired. The organization’s goal is to have One Million books in its archive.
I am grateful for The Blind Buzz for rounding up these stories and making them available. I feel inspired when I read about advances being made in the blind and low-vision world. It is so wonderful to think of the many, many people working hard so that those without perfect vision can live a more empowered and enjoyable life.