Official Newsletter of the World Blind Union-Asia Pacific
Contents of this issue:
From the Editor
Mid-Term Assembly Flashback
Regional Contact with Korean Blind Womenfs
Pacific-Oceania Sub-region Update
DANIDA Project Updates – from Mongolian National Federation of the Blind –
DANIDA Project Updates – from Lao Association of the Blind –
National ICT Enlightening
Action Training Course for Teachers of
Blind Schools in
Winners of The WBUAP Onkyo Braille Essay Contest 2010
FROM THE EDITOR
The days fly so quickly especially when we are having great times together.
For those who came to
It is only 6 months ago when we had another excitement: the Regional
Seminar on Massage in
I asked our colleagues in
I think we should be proud of having done quite a lot this year. Let us keep moving forward!
Michiko Tabata: Editor-in-Chief
Editorial Committee: Ivan Ho Tuch Choy
MID-TERM ASSEMBLY FLASHBACK
The WBUAP Mid-Term Assembly in
Friday, October 29:
The Youth Forum room in the morning was full of enthusiastic participants
and welcomed presentations from
The Womenfs Forum
room in the afternoon was full and chairs had to be added so that everyone
could sit down. The forum welcomed presentations from
The issues raised during the two forums were also brought to the drafting of the Chiba Statement.
The food served in the Welcome Reception was splendid! We all welcomed messages from each and every country/territory, followed by an amazing entertainment by Mr. Taro Masuda and his colleague.
Saturday, October 30:
The opening session had many messages from government agencies in
The first commemorative speech was by Maryanne, the WBU President,
elaborating on the ongoing WBU works including employment related initiatives,
works on libraries, and capacity building of members for CRPD implementation.
Another speaker was Dr. Fred Reid from European Blind Union who shared with us
the experiences in
The afternoon started with business sessions including reports from Ivan, our secretary general, Kevin, our treasurer, Martine, our womenfs committee chair, Mr. Zhu Gang, our massage commission chair, and Monthian, our technology committee chair and link to APCD.
The country report session was fun but in a little bit of rush. Since each presentation had 5 minutes to go, the speakers focused on some of their highlights, while the full details are in their written report. The three sub-regional chairs chaired the session as divided by the sub-region.
The sub-regional meetings after the plenary session was fruitful and each sub-regional had their own features of discussion.
Sunday October 31:
The morning started with business sessions. We voted for amendments of
WBUAP constitution, some to be consistent with the changes in the WBU
constitution, and other for the purpose of facilitating fundraising initiatives
at the national or local level. We also saw updates on our quadrennium plan of
action, and a great presentation on the upcoming International Conference on
Low Vision to be held in
The concurrent sessions were both full of insights and informative
The Employment Symposium in the afternoon was chaired by Grace, our 3E
committee chair, and welcomed presentations from our colleagues in
During the closing session, the Chiba Statement was adopted, which will be given at the end of this particle.
The Farewell reception was another big fun and beautiful food. We had great Japanese traditional music, followed by a number of other great singers among our colleagues, a melting pot of talents!
Monday November 1:
We took the bus or the train to Sight World, now a well-know exhibition exclusively for the cause of blindness. Our president Maryanne delivered her message of congratulations on the opening of the event, with tape cuts, and participants went out into the hall touching and listening to the latest assistive technologies. Some were shopping so eagerly!.
The ICT Symposium in the afternoon welcomed presentations on the CRPD and
the right to access ICT for the blind, some of the latest developments in
The organizing committee sponsored some of our colleagues from countries
with financial difficulties: 2 from
On Friday and Saturday, we had an unusual and unwelcomed guest: an autumn typhoon! It is not very common to have tropical storms that late in autumn. Hopefully nobody was wet or blown by the strong wind.
Did you know that all the rooms had names of music types, like Rondo, Symphonia, Concerto, Largo etc.? Maybe someone with music expertise can tell us what they actually mean.
Many participants spoke highly of the services the hotel personnel were demonstrating. This is partly due to a JFB seminar on how to accommodate needs of blind and visually impaired guests, which was held early September. The hotel was also happy to have such a precious experience.
The following is the statement that was adopted at the end of the closing session Sunday afternoon:
We the participants at the WBUAP Mid-Term General Assembly in
A: call upon all countries within the Asia Pacific Region to take timely steps towards signing, ratifying, implementing and monitoring the CRPD (Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities),
B: Recognizing that unemployment and economic inactivity is a major source of social exclusion across the world for people who are blind or have low vision, urge countries to take proactive steps to identify, and assist people gain access to meaningful employment on an equal basis with others,
C: affirm the outcome of the Youth Forum, by agreeing to promote activities to strengthen leadership, capacity and networks of young people who are blind or have low vision, for example, by establishing an email discussion list for and about youth issues in the Region.
D: being moved by the enthusiasm and strong determination, expressed by blind women through the Womenfs Forum, therefore urge all concerned parties, especially member countries, in the Asia Pacific Region to prepare a statement about strategies being undertaken, or being planned, by member countries to empower blind women within the blindness community and society at large. And further recognize the need to advocate for integrating the mandate of CRPD concerning women with disabilities with mainstream human rights instruments like CEDAW (the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women),
E: Applaud the contribution and collaboration from partners in capacity building of member countries in relation to advancing the human rights of people who are blind or have low vision, for example, governments, international development organizations (such as DANIDA) and civil society organizations at large; and further recommend that any future international development assistance programs, be more disability/blindness inclusive.
F: Place on record our deepest appreciation to the following partners and organizations for the successful outcome of this Mid-Term General Assembly, namely,
1. National Committee
of Welfare for the Blind in
2. World Blind
3. European Blind
4. Danish Association of the Blind, Mr. Mikael Bellers Madsen, Ms. Susanne Koch Andersen
5. All the Assembly speakers, reporters and presenters
6. Sponsors, members of the Organizing Committee, interpreters, volunteers and staff
THE 10TH WBU
- Meeting New Challenges through Exchange and Raising Self-Esteem -
The Seminar was Held Sucessfully with Profound Influence
to May-7th, the 10th WBU Asia Pacific Regional Massage
Seminar and its Board of the Directors Meeting concluded successfully in
The conference was held under the leadership of Mr. Zhu Gang, the President of the Hunan Yeahcome Health Care Chain Co., Ltd., who takes charge of Board Chairman of the World Blind Union Asia Pacific Regional Massage Commission for the first time. There were in total 550 delegates who came from 14 countries and regions in this seminar. It was the biggest scale with the largest number of attendance this time, and four languages were available for simultaneous interpretation including Chinese, English, Japanese and Korean.
During the seminar,
delegates from different
countries/regions carried out lots of discussions such as on g
Mr. Young Hak Yoo, the Vice Minister of Health & Welfare Ministry of
Exchange & Display, Hand on Health & Energy
As with the previous
seminars, this seminar
had conventional programs for internal exchange in the field of massage such as
gPlenary Sessionh, gCountry Reporth and gMassage Skills Exchangeh, and in
addition a public exhibition of blind massage to Koreans. More than 20 experts
from the Asia Pacific Regional countries attended the exhibition to show different
ways of blind massage, new skills, new techniques, and attracted a large number
Mr. Que Youming, an
expert from the Tuina Dept. of China Changsha Yeahcome Massage Hospital, took
part in this seminar too. He met experts from
Self-esteem and Love, Extended from the Blind Massage International Network
On the board of
directors meeting, Mr. Peng Lei, the assistant of WBUAP Massage Regional
Commission Chairman and the
director of International Development Management Center of Hunan Yeahcome
Health Care Chain Co., Ltd. (
The Meeting Is Not the End But the Beginning of the Co-operation
During this meeting,
Mr. Zhang Mingli, Director Assistant of
The discussion and
vote of the board of directors decided
that the 11th WBUAP Regional Massage Seminar will be held in
CONTACT WITH KOREAN BLIND WOMENfS
Chair, Womenfs Committee
So, on the evening of 7 May, we were met at our
hotel by Lee Kanyoung, Chair of the Korean Blind Womenfs
We were then taken to a lovely traditional restaurant, especially to try out Kalbi, a typical local dish, consisting out of pork strips, seared at onefs table. One would have preserved vegetables with that. Eunhye, as the only sighted person there on the night, also ended up doing the food preparation, for it had to be done by the dinner guests themselves, as that wasnft part of what the restaurantfs waiters were doing, so, itfs like a novelty kind of meal, where one would be part of cooking and serving oneself.
The restaurant was also typical Korean in its mere nature as one was seated on cushions on the floor around very low tables. We had to take our shoes off at the restaurantfs entrance and each party were then taken to a private dining facility. On the table in front of us were the cooking utensils and equipment such as the specific hot cooking plate, etc.
We were informed that there are about 1000 members of the KBWU and that it is a national organisation. We exchanged facts around our various countriesf and organisationsf accessibility of government and rehabilitation services and we compared notes on matters pertaining to employment, education, health access, etc.
The Korean women were of the opinion that their access to health services were adequate, but that there is definite room for improvement, especially for women in rural regions. They also reported sufficient access to secondary and tertiary education services, although most of them are actually still choosing to work in the massage field.
Massage used to be a protected occupation for the blind, but it seems as if this has now changed to being an open employment situation, so the women were telling us that their specific job opportunities in that area could be compromised by non-disabled people flooding that market.
The women sounded very keen to become more involved in WBU matters and the registration and programme materials for the upcoming Regional Mid-term Assembly were sent on to them.
We enjoyed a couple of glasses of Kas, Korean beer, which put us all in a relaxed mood, just ready for the weekend and the trip back home for both Michiko and me to return to our respective countries. Wefre expressing again a heartfelt thanks to our Korean hosts for providing such an informative and enjoyable end to our Korean visit.
PACIFIC-OCEANIA SUB-REGION UPDATE
there are five WBU member countries in the Pacific-Oceania sub-region:
pacific region is made up of hundreds of Islands which makes it Very
challenging to gather groups of people who are blind or have low vision
together except in the larger
In addition, poverty, lack of recognition of human rights, and poor access to technology such as internet make it very difficult to establish new or potential WBU member countries.
We have an email network of a number of people who are blind or have low vision in the pacific but email also is not yet widely available.
The future opportunities for better rights, access and therefore networks of blind people lie in two areas:
First. Assistance like the DANIDA/DAB /WBUAP capacity building project described elsewhere in this publication. The extension of this project to include a regional coordinator, and more regional perspective such as having people from other countries in the Asia Pacific also benefitting from the learnings of the capacity building training in Mongolia and Laos has great potential to assist those in the Pacific Oceania and more broadly.
In addition more ein countryf development assistance for Pacific Oceania countries is important as well.
This is now being made available to Disabled Persons Organizations in the Pacific by partners such as the Disability Rights Fund, AusAid, and through NZ Aid.
Second, Pacific Disability Forum PDF, established over five years ago as a representative and advocacy organization for disabled persons organizations , has over 25 pacific country DPO members.
These DPOs have people who are blind or have low vision as members including some of their leaders.
The PDF has a conference every two years where members are assisted to attend and network. The next PDF Conference is in Auckland NZ next April.
At our sub
region meeting during the mid term assembly in
Other actions from our sub-region meeting included:
· assist DPOs to further develop strategies and communication to encourage participation by people who are blind or have low vision in their DPO activities;
· To promote and assist establish radio for PWD in pacific or just programming on local radio by PWD would be a good communication strategy for people who are blind or have low vision. This is also a project activity in the DANIDA project and the Regional Coordinator will be tasked to distribute learnings from DANIDA project across the region.
discussed the International Council for Education of Vision Impaired (ICEVI)
Pacific/WBU Pacific-Oceania 2 day workshop in
Finally, the Equipment recycling website is still progressing slowly in engagement by service providers:
Recent donations include:
calculators and Braille slates to
to United Blind Persons (UBP)
DANIDA PROJECT UPDATES – from Mongolian National Federation of the Blind –
In 2010, MNFB implemented the following 3 projects:
· Second Mongolian blind womenfs forum
· Creation of enabling and accessible environment for the blind people
like to share experiences and findings which are gained
through implementing the projects, and what kind of changes they brought to the MNFB and blind people
Blind womenfs forum
The Forum was conducted between 9 and 13 of June 2010 in
· Establishment of womenf council and sustainable operations
· Development of project proposals
· Knowledge about the legislations that affect and impact the blind people
A total of 40 blind women participated in the forum, 23 of them from rural area.
We believe that the operations should not be limited to just one time training, but what has been learned should spread to make it possible for women to utilize their knowledge in their life and to disseminate knowledge to other women. For this purpose, we established a small loan fund of 3000 USD at the Womenfs Council of MNFB. The aim of the loan is to increase the household income of blind women, and they are eligible to submit a project proposal for up to 500,000 MNT to be submitted to MNFBfs Womenfs Council through the local branches. The Womenfs Council will announce the loan opportunity twice a year and select up to 8 proposals each.
Establishment of FM radio station
MNFB first established the FM radio station BEST FM 98.5 in order to deliver reading services for the blind people in 2004. The radio station is in successful operation so far and offering its services dedicated for the blind. The operations of the last 5 years have demonstrated the success and importance of having the radio station for the blind, and MNFB gained considerable experience in running the radio station. As of the mid 2009, MNFB is operating its branches in 18 provinces out of a total of 21. Of the total of 18 branches, 12 of them were established under the capacity building project implemented by the DAB for 2007-2009. We have seen pressing need to strengthen and build capacity of the branches for sustainable operation enabling them to have permanent income generation source. Based on this observation, MNFB implemented the project to establish FM radio stations at the branches in Uvurhangai, Dornod and Umnugobi provinces. We have identified several advantages and importance of the radio station including:
· Increasing access to information for the local blind people
· Increasing public awareness on the blind people and advocate for the favorable decision making
· Creating an opportunity to be financially sustainable for the branches. so that they could use the income generated from the radio station for other for-the-blind activities
MNFB got the licenses for FM radio station. and work for the establishment of 3 stations started mid June.
Creating enabling and accessible environment for the blind
MNFB had no office and so used some rooms of the Enterprise of Blind People up to now.
As the scope of MNFB activity expanded, there was more demand for having its own office. In order to meet this demand, MNFB took initiative and raised funds from the Ministry of Social Welfare and Labor for construction of MNFB office building. The construction started in August 2008.
The new office has a total of 540 square meters of area including office for MNFB
President, CEO and staff as well as meeting room, talking book
production studio and Braille printing center, a total of 15 rooms. We also constructed a sports hall with 216 square meters of area and a small
exercise room for blind athletes. Through the capacity building project, the entire building is equipped with
proper infrastructure for the blind people, both inside and
outside, for walking and working, in accordance with the UN
Convention on the Rights of Persons with
Within this framework,
we created and installed the wall touch handle for the blind, tactile road and
Braille marking in the rooms as well as a sliding
door to pioneer the enabling infrastructure. The new building, the model for
everyone, is playing key role in raising awareness for working and
living conditions of the blind people, and has been used as an advocacy tool for decision makers, to ensure the
effective enforcement of the convention in
DANIDA PROJECT UPDATES – from Lao Association of the Blind –
LAB implemented the following 3 major activities as part of the ongoing project:
· Second womenfs forum
· Training on human rights
· Leadership training for participants from provincial areas
Second Womenfs Forum
LAB held its second womenfs forum from 20 to 22 January 2010 at the Lao Womenfs Union training Center, following the first forum in June 2008. The objectives were:
· To refresh lessons learned about womenfs right and gender from the first womenfs forum
· To support participants to learn how to vote for proper persons to be members of the Womenfs Committee
· To train participants in setting plan of action
The forum was attended by 50 blind and partially
sighted women and facilitated by the
Director General of Department of Pension, Invalid and Disabilities, the representative from the Lao Womenfs
Training on Human Rights & the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
A training on human rights and the rights of persons with disabilities was held from 16 to 18 February 2010, using the Decree on Disabled People in Lao PDR as materials. The Decree was .drafted in 2009 by representatives from the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, Lao Disabled Peoplefs Association, and lawyers, and was submitted to the National Assembly for approval. The objectives of the training were:
· To raise awareness of human rights of 30 participants, so that they perceive and become aware of the rights they have
· To enable the 30 participating trainees to convey the information about human rights and the rights of persons with disabilities, to other groups of blind and visually impaired persons in Vientiane Capital and 2 target provinces, Laungpragbang and Savannakhet.
The seminar was attended by 30 blind and partially sighted persons and was facilitated by government officials, representatives from the Lao Disabled Persons Association, and the president of Womenfs Committee of LAB. The participants now have better understanding of human rights and will disseminate what they learned to other blind people who were not attending. LAB also succeeded in addressing to the government the need to promote the right to education for the blind people on an equal basis with others.
Leadership Training for Participants from Provinces
A training on CBR was held between March 22 to 26, 2010, following a study
tour to CBR practices in
NATIONAL ICT ENLIGHTENING ACTION TRAINING COURSE
FOR TEACHERS OF BLIND SCHOOLS IN
further improve the skills and knowledge of teachers of blind schools and
education resource centres for the blind in
a) To provide updated information technology for the blind, latest development of IT adaptive equipment and software;
b) Sharing of experience in information technology;
c) An easy to learn English learning system for the blind and
d) Repair and maintenance skills Training for Braille Embosser and Braille equipment.
For the second and
third training courses, Mr. Pol Namse, expert on repair of Braille Embosser and
Braille equipment from
On each course we
have had about 60 teachers of 40 blind schools from different parts of
The learning and teaching of English through the internet was an important aspect of the training as blind people would benefit greatly from learning English in order to communicate with the outside world and to make new friends.
The training course has served the purpose of upgrading the IT skills of the teachers, in the teaching of IT and English for their blind students and to manage the education resource centres more competently.
WINNERS OF THE WBUAP ONKYO BRAILLE ESSAY CONTEST 2010
Thank you very much for participating in the 2010 Contest. We received 26
entries from 7 countries -
The Otsuki Prize of US$1,000 went to Jenni Heryani of
The Excellent Prize of US$500.00 for Category A (aged from 14 - 25 years)
went to Ritchell Lim from
2 Fine Works of US$200.00 each went to: Deasy Tresnawati Sari of
The Excellent Prize of US$500.00 for Category B (aged from 26 years
upwards) was awarded to Mohd. Asri bin Mat Isa from
2 Fine Works of US$200.00 each for Category b went to Li Sen-Guang from
We have just received the good news that the Onkyo Corporation and the Braille Mainichi will continue to sponsor the Contest for 2011 with very little changes to the rules. The announcement will come out on 1 February 2011, but in the meantime, do begin to set up the National Onkyo Selection committees in your respective countries.
The WBUAP Board and Policy Council take this opportunity to thank Mr. Tetsuo Mano who will be retiring from taking charge of the Project at the end of the year. Mr. Mano has been in charge of the Onkyo Braille Essay Contest Secretariat since 2003. We also wish to thank Mr. Kazuhiko Yamaguchi, who will also be retiring as the Project Co-ordinator from the International Association for the Visually Impaired (IAVI) since the Onkyo Braille Essay Contest was expanded to the WBUAP Region in 2003. We extend a warm welcome to Miss Mariko Okada, the Chief Editor of Braille Mainichi, who will be taking over from Mr. Mano, and Mr. Hiroaki Ishiwata, the new Executive Director of IAVI, will take over from Mr. Yamaguchi.
KL VISION 2011:
THE 10th International Conference on Low Vision
Date, 20 to 24 February 2011
The Theme of the conference is: gVision Rehabilitation – Towards Better Livingh, and will focus mainly on 1) New Developments in Research & Rehabilitation, 2) Rehabilitation & New Advances, 3) Multidisciplinary Intervention, and 4) Epidemiology in Developing Countries. There will be plenary sessions with exciting speakers, workshops, exhibitions, as well as socializing events.
For further details, visit the official website at:
THE 8TH WBU GENERAL ASSEMBLY
The WBU Executive Meeting in
ITE1, an introduction to PC repair including: Hardware, installing and maintaining an operating system, Troubleshooting, portable devices, and customer service:
Discovery 1, on home and small business networking, the first of 4 courses that prepare students to take the CCNA certification:
Exploration, a more in depth look at networking, both theoretical and practical for those students who wish to really get their hands into building and designing networks.
Each class runs for a total of six months, with online lectures. The classes are self-paced so you can finish them in a month, or take the entire semester if desired. The cost for each course is 500 US dollars however; scholarships are available to students who are paying out of pocket that lower the price to $150. Students are required to have good internet access skills and be familiar with their screen reader of choice, or be willing to teach themselves the necessary skills as we go along. Students should be familiar with reading Adobe PDF documents, as they may be encountered while doing research projects. We do not teach basic computer skills. Course content is online, so broadband internet connection is highly recommended. Students should also have a working headset/microphone and be willing to install Skype and Ventrilo, in order to attend lectures and communicate with instructors. Applications will be accepted until 28 January 2011.
For more information on any of our courses or to request an application, please email
You can also visit our website at:
We Are Waiting for Your Contributions!!
Send in your writingscreports, essays, poems, commentary, just about anything, that you might want to share with your friends and colleagues in the Region.
Your Donations Is Always Welcome!!
Help us make a difference of what it means to be blind. Your donations will help our international blindness movement in particular from our friends in less economically privileged circumstances.
Your generous contribution is very much appreciated. Please note that,
following the election of our new Treasurer, we have our new USD account in
Please direct your payment to:
National Australia Bank
Account Number: WBUAPUSD01
Swift Code: NATAAU3303M
Name: World Blind Union –
National Committee of Welfare for the Blind in
2-18-2 Nishi-Waseda, Shinjuku,
National Committee of Welfare for the Blind in
2-18-2 Nishi-Waseda, Shinjuku,
Ivan Ho Tuck Choy
Council for the Blind,
94B Jalan Tun Sambanthan
Council for the Blind,
94B Jalan Tun Sambanthan