MEDIA RELEASE: 24 OCTOBER 2011
LOFOB SERVING THE BLIND ON NATIONAL BODY
LOFOB is proud to announce that two of its members have been elected to serve on the governance structures of the South African National Council for the Blind. Executive Director Philip Bam was elected as Deputy Chairperson of the SANCB at its Biennial Conference held in Kimberley last week. Heidi Volkwijn, LOFOB's PRO represents the Western Cape on the National Executive Committee. "This is indeed a great honor for LOFOB as it continues to work to change what it means to be blind, says Richard Arends, President of LOFOB. Mr Bam has a wealth of knowledge and experience which he brings to the National blindness service and Heidi Volkwijn, herself a blind person, is very strong on women representation and will push gender equality issues."
LOFOB is one of the leading agencies in the blindness sector having pioneered some interesting aspects of services to blind people. LOFOB recently entered into a service delivery agreement with the SANCB to undertake a survey of the state of sport for the blind in South Africa. A preliminary report was presented to the Biennial Conference by Armand Bam, LOFOB's wellness and Independence Development Manager. The report revealed some startling data on the state of sports for the blind in the country.
"There are still tremendous gaps in services for blind people throughout the country and we need to ensure that all blind people have access to basic services. Early Childhood Development for blind children is lacking in vast parts of the country and this will have to be corrected. It is vital that all visually impaired toddlers and their parents are reached and provided with basic services to lay firm foundations, says Philip Bam, newly elected deputy Chairperson of the SANCB."
For more information and comment contact Philip Bam or Heidi Volkwijn on 0217053753.
MEDIA STATEMENT BY EXEUTIVE DIRECTOR OF LOFOB
The League of Friends of the Blind [LOFOB] welcomes the news that great progress is being made towards an international treaty that would improve access for blind people to books. LOFOB is an associate member of the World Blind Union(WBU) and supports the efforts of the WBU in fighting to ease the copyright restrictions that makes access to books extremely difficult. The President of the WBU, Ms Maryanne Diamond of Australia commented as follows after the latest meeting in Geneva: I am delighted at the progress made at this meeting. The new draft text provides the Committee with a good basis for completing its work on a treaty. A new law would help us end the book famine.
It is of great concern to LOFOB thatpeople living with a print disability still have very limited access to books and other published works. Only some 5% of published books are ever made accessible in richer countries, and less than 1% in poorer ones. The national nature of copyright law prevents the import and export of accessible books. The treaty would remove this legal barrier to sharing resources across borders. That would allow many hundreds of thousands of books to circulate between blind peoples organisations in different countries
LOFOB looks forward to the completion of the process and urge our own government to support such a treaty.