[A2k] Why a WIPO Treaty for Persons with Print Disabilities can change lives

Teresa Hackett teresa.hackett at eifl.net
Mon Jun 24 11:49:46 PDT 2013


Why a WIPO Treaty for Persons with Print Disabilities can change lives

The dream for visually impaired students in Lesotho could become a reality

EIFL supports the conclusion of an effective treaty for the benefit of
print disabled people at the Diplomatic Conference in Marrakesh, 17-28
June 2013. By ‘effective’ we mean an international copyright framework
that will make a real difference to the lives of blind, visually
impaired and print disabled people around the world.

The WIPO study on copyright limitations and exceptions for visually
impaired people highlighted the work of the National University of
Lesotho (NUL) that started taking blind students some years ago. A
room for Visually Impaired Persons (VIPs) equipped with a Brailler and
a computer with JAWS screen-reading software was set up in the
library, where books are transcribed into Braille. Despite the best
efforts of the Special Educational Needs Unit and library staff, there
was never enough material available in accessible formats for the
students. The process of requesting printed books from libraries in
neighbouring South Africa and making them accessible could take up to
two months, too long to complete an assignment.

“I studied at NUL since 2005 and graduated in 2010 as a lawyer with a
Bachelor of Law degree”, said Nkhasi Sefuthi, Human Rights and
Advocacy Officer, Lesotho National Federation of Organisations of the
Disabled (LNFOD). “With regard to accessing materials, it was a
disaster, and I had to mainly rely on my friends to read out for me.
Visually impaired students were marginalized because we could not
access materials in the same way as sighted students, especially in
electronic form. I am very excited about the treaty being negotiated
in Marrakesh. Imagine being able to easily get accessible materials
from other countries, that would be a dream. It would spur other
students in Lesotho to study and lead fulfilled lives. It will assist
the real efforts of the government of Lesotho to promote the
participation of people with disability in society”, said Nkhasi.

Supported by the Lesotho Library Consortium (LELICO)


Teresa Hackett
EIFL-IP Programme Manager

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