Hundreds of books in braille and giant-print are being donated to a school for blind and partially sighted children in Jamaica to mark World Literacy Day today [September 8th].
The books have been sent by sight loss charity RNIB to the British Council office in Kingston for distribution to the Salvation Army School for the Blind and Visually Impaired in the island’s capital.
The consignment, comprising 55 boxes, includes titles by such favourite children’s authors as JK Rowling and David Walliams.
The school, which will celebrate its 90th anniversary this November, is the only one of its kind in Jamaica. It currently has 137 students.
The school’s principal, Iyeke Erharuyi, said: “There is a very limited access to books in alternate formats for the low vision and totally blind child in Jamaica, so we are very grateful for initiatives such as this.
“Granting a child with visual impairment the enabling environment means they can break that glass ceiling. We would like to thank the British Council, RNIB and Flag Up Scotland Jamaica for this very timely donation, as we will be doing a drive to retro-fit the school library as part of our 90th Anniversary.”
The school’s need for accessible children’s books was first highlighted by Glasgow city councillor Graham Campbell, who has worked with the British Council in Jamaica. He referred them to RNIB’s Diversity in Sight initiative in Scotland.
Its manager, Gozie Joe Adigwe, said: “RNIB often gets asked by overseas organisations for donations and we do our best to help everyone who does. This case turned out to be perfect timing as we were looking to donate some of our surplus stock of braille and giant-print books.
“We hope this will help ensure that children in other countries aren’t excluded from the world of literature – a world that can do so much to help shape the person we become. I couldn’t imagine being deprived of my favourite stories from childhood. No child should be denied the chance to enjoy the same stories that stretch the imagination and sense of wonder as their sighted peers.”
RNIB maintains the largest collection of books for adults and children in Europe with a library of over 21,000 titles in audio, braille and giant-print, lent free of charge to people in the UK with sight loss.
Olayinka Jacobs-Bonnick, British Council country director, said: “RNIB Scotland responded immediately to our request for books in braille and giant print, which are in short supply in Jamaica.
“We are very excited to be able to donate them to the Salvation Army School for the Blind and Visually Impaired as a part of our World Literacy Day celebrations, and to underscore the fact that blind and visually impaired persons do actually read. Equality, diversity and inclusion is a key area of the work for the British Council worldwide.”