Persons with Print Disabilities (PWPD) in Asia, particularly in the Philippines, will have greater access to books, thanks to two trainings on a process for converting books into formats that people with various print disabilities can access. These trainings were organized in December 2016 and April 2017 by the Philippine Representative Office of Benetech, reports Benetech’s International Programs Head, Terry Jenna. Graduates of these book conversion trainings came mainly from the Manila Christian Institute for the Deaf Inc.
Benetech, a U.S.-based nonprofit organization, works through its Global Literacy Program to develop technology to aid PWPD throughout the world and break down the barriers to accessibility. PWPD includes people with perceptual difficulties (dyslexic and other learning disabilities) that affect reading, people with physical disabilities who are unable to hold a printed book, and people with visual impairments—low or no vision—who cannot view print properly or at all.
Benetech’s strategy for increasing the availability of books for PWPD in Asia includes affiliating more schools and institutions with Bookshare (the world’s largest online library of accessible books) and influencing local publishers to share more textbooks and reference materials on Bookshare. Other strategies include linking up with interested individuals and small businesses to act as converters and suppliers, as well as encouraging national and regional libraries to use Benetech’s cost-effective library platform, Private Label Bookshare, to quickly establish and maintain a library of accessible materials for PWPD.
In addition to the Philippines, similar book conversion trainings also have been conducted in Ethiopia, Kenya, UAE and India. Benetech has conducted more than 80 information sessions in India introducing the concept of converting books into accessible formats. Click here to learn more about Bookshare’s activities.