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World Braille Day: Top rights body pushes for inclusion of braille in school curricula

The Cameroon Human Rights Commission (CHRC) has urged the government of Cameroon to include the study of braille as a subject in schools across the nation.

In a nine-page document made public on January 2, in prelude to World Braille Day which is observed every year on January 4, the Commission expressed concern about several challenges faced by visually impaired persons in Cameroon.

Braille is a system of reading for blind or visually impaired people, consisting of a series of raised dots that are felt with the fingertips. It is named after Louis Braille who invented the method.

Some of the challenges faced by the blind or visually impaired in Cameroon include stereotypes by some parents who leave children with this disability in private centers with no follow-up; few teachers in mainstream schools with a knowledge of braille; lack of textbooks or documents in braille and no consideration given to the visually impaired on things such as pharmaceutical products.

The CHRC therefore urges the Ministries of
Basic, Secondary, and Higher Education; as well as vocational training centers, to include braille as an optional subject in school curricula to help blind people easily integrate into mainstream society.

According to Orbis (an international NGO that specializes in the treatment of preventable blindness), it is estimated that nearly 250,000 people in Cameroon suffer from blindness and 600,000 suffer from vision loss with cataracts contributing nearly half of all cases of blindness. There is a lack of skilled eye care professionals, infrastructure, and equipment to adequately address these needs.

The Cameroonian Society Of Ophthalmology (CSO) reports that it has only 61 surgeons in Cameroon with a population of 24 million people.

Source: Cameroon News Agency