Brunei Darussalam Association of the Blind to move to new office
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
THE Brunei Darussalam National Association of the Blind (BDNAB) is setting up a new office and training centre for the needs of visually impaired individuals.
Speaking to The Brunei Times, BDNAB Secretary General, Noor Ani Adriana Awang Adanan said the association will be running several activities with the establishment of the new centre.
This includes producing Braille textbooks for primary school students, conducting computer classes, providing service for repairing Braille machines and teaching the Quran to visually impaired students.
“Currently the BDNAB is the first to produce Braille textbooks in Brunei. But due to limited funding, there is a challenge in covering costs in relocating to the main office and its operation.”
Therefore the BDNAB welcomes contributions from members of the public, she said.
She said the association’s current office is at the Gadong Properties Centre.
As the contract will end this month, in October, the association will be moving to Unit 6-07, 6th Floor, Plaza Athirah, Jalan Kubah Makam Di-Raja, Batu Satu.
“Standard Chartered Bank Brunei (SCB Brunei) is still paying for our monthly rental and we appreciate their generous and endless support towards our association.”
Noor Ani Adriana said apart from contributions from the public, the BDNAB will organise other activities to raise funds.
“This includes activities to raise awareness on the causes of blindness, the essential prevention practices and understand the challenges of the blind and accessibility which will be held in conjunction with World Sight Day, World Braille Day and much more.”
The BDNAB secretary general said once the association has finished setting up at their new office, the members will start producing Braille textbooks.
“We will produce primary 1-6 books in Mathematics and Science, among others, first, as embossing Braille books is not an easy task to do because we need to double check the Braille coding correctly.”
She said the idea of producing Braille books came from BDNAB’s Executive Director who will be producing the books himself along with two other staff members who are not visually impaired individuals.
Before this, the BDNAB attained Quran Braille books from other countries such as Malaysia.
“Meanwhile for the Quran classes, we will be giving members of the association who are experts in IT (as they have participated in IT training courses abroad before) and can read the Quran Braille to conduct the classes and teach other members.”
Noor Ani Adriana said the association hopes that with the new office and training centre, members can conduct their training and gain knowledge as well as self confidence.
“The association also hopes members will learn to adapt as they get more exposure to the working environment.”
“Moreover, we are hoping that government agencies and private sectors will offer employment opportunities for our members regardless of their blindness categories (totally blind or visually impaired).”
As for the association’s future plans, she said the BDNAB are still looking for a suitable and vast space to conduct operations and training such as massaging, cooking and other independent-living work.
“A place like an office is not suitable to do the training sessions. Through this, we also want to change the public’s perception on the blind.
“We want to show them that the blind are capable of working despite their disabilities.”
The BDNAB currently has a total of 78 members, she said, adding that the association does need more members and where together they can promote equality and the rights of the visually impaired in Brunei.
The Brunei Times