WBU-AP(Senior group) Fine Work
“ How Braille and Audio Devices Help Me Integrate into Society”
Cambodia Hok Sophorn(22/Female)
Education is now open to everyone, including the disabled. No matter where you are, the opportunity to learn is beneficial to anyone. For the blind and visually impaired in particular, they can achieve academic success with the support of special institutions and the use of adaptive equipment.
In fact, Braille and audio devices play a very important role in the lives of blind people. Braille is a special system of dots which can be produced by using the slate and stylus to create the Braille letters on paper. With this system of writing and reading, we are able to teach or pass on knowledge to others or we can search and gather information from books and other texts.
As for audio devices, a great variety is now available to the blind because of modern technology. They include the radio, television, telephone, cassette and compact disk players, the Internet, JAWS for Windows and other computer software specially adapted for the blind. The DAISY book, in particular, is a fantastic device because it can hold so much more information than a Braille book or even a print book can. Indeed, both Braille and audio devices are very important to the blind.
Being over-aged, I can no longer attend public school. Nevertheless, I am still studying English in a private school in the mornings. I have also learnt the Khmer language through a short course organised by the Association of the Blind in Cambodia during the evenings. I am able to do this because of the Braille texts that are available, especially the Khmer Braille books in Grade One.
Fortunately, I have many friends who are willing to help me overcome my problems. During the Khmer classes, for example, my friends would correct me when I spell or pronounce the words wrongly. I use Braille to make my own notes every day. At the same time, I use the cassette-recorder to record the teacher’s lessons. I will then compare my Braille notes with the recorded information during my leisure time. In this way, I am able to catch up with the normal students, particularly in the English classes. As a result, the teacher is no longer worried about me and he has confidence in my capability to follow his lessons.
Although I am not an outstanding student, I am quite well known in the school. When I stand along the walkway to wait for my sister, the people passing by seem to be greeting me every second with “Hello!” It really makes me feel that I am part of the society in which we live.
When I am not learning, I work as a masseur in order to earn my livelihood. The Braille blocks along the pavements act as a guide for me as I travel from place to place. The straight lines tell me that I should walk ahead while the round dots indicate that I am at the beginning or end of a pathway. I am able to detect the tactile lines and dots under my feet even with my shoes on and my white cane helps me trail along the path. I am truly grateful to the blind association for having given me the training in Orientation and Mobility; with these skills, I am able to travel independently.
During my childhood years, I was forced to stay at home with nothing to do; without any knowledge or information, I was ignorant about the society and the environment around me. But after studying at the school where I was the first blind student, I feel so happy that I have had the opportunity to receive an education. I am now able to participate in society’s activities and I can contribute my knowledge and skills to the Association for the Blind.
Indeed, Braille and audio devices have been beneficial to me as a blind person. They have helped to bring a lot of improvement in our conditions of living, thereby enabling us to enjoy a life of productivity in employment and have given us the means to raise a happy family. In fact, Braille and audio devices have helped to bring the benefits of development to all the blind in the developing countries.
In summing up, it is important to create an inclusive society where the blind are able to have “full participation and equality” in the community at all levels. With opportunities for education and employment, the blind will be confident and have the courage to live up to the challenges of life.