The Lesotho Telecommunications giant Vodacom Lesotho through the Vodacom Foundation has pumped a thrilling M2million towards building Insight Centre, a digital library meant to aid visually impaired persons at the State Library of Lesotho.
The Centre will operate as a tool to assist the visually impaired with specialized services; books as well as materials inappropriate media, thus enabling them equal access and inclusion. It has three sections which include the reception area, a printing station and a computer lab.
Speaking at the event of the unveiling in Maseru this week, Minister of Communications, Science and Technology, Tšoinyane Rapapa thanked VCL Foundation for reaching out to the community and backing the visually impaired people.
He said innovations that create opportunities for those with limitations should dominate policy-making in government. He continued that the Ministry is energised to work with the private sector and non-governmental organisations in Lesotho to create opportunities that reach out to other people.
“The world has borne witness to amazing things which the visually impaired people have contributed in the areas of music, arts, crafts et al. Access to digital information is to satisfy fully to their demands and there are a lot of creatives that have been done by the blind and visually impaired people,” Rapapa said.
Meanwhile, VCL Board Chairman, John Matlosa said the foundation mandate is to reach out to people who need ultimate help especially in education hence they took an initiative to implement an Insight Centre. He said that the foundation has donated equipment and facilities worth M2million in order for the digital library to fully operate.
Matlosa further said the foundation has the responsibility in Lesotho that was initiated by the government of Lesotho to give back to the community as a way of community developments. He noted that the Centre is going to reach out to the visually impaired people as they will now be able to feel at home by being able to access everything that other people have access to.
Lisebo Mahopeli on behalf of the Director, Lesotho National League of Visually Impaired Persons (LNLVIP), appreciated the initiative that VCL Foundation has taken as the visually impaired will have access to information which is one of the rights every Mosotho has.
Mahopeli continued that the initiative is going to stretch as far as reaching out to the visually impaired students who have been struggling for a lengthy period of time, thus deepening its claws in education sector, hoping that the initiative will spread across the country for others to benefit as the endeavour break barriers between the abled and disabled people.
The Lesotho National Federation of the Disabled’s Executive Director, Makotoko Masolo stated that, in 2018 there was a plan to increase education policy which stated that every child deserves a good quality education.
Insight Centre Coordinator, Keneuoe Semphi explained that the library’s printing station has a braille embosser used to print normal documents in braille. She said there are computers installed super-nova software that allows the visually impaired to access and navigate a computer by transforming written text into speech and braille document.
In the medium of the centre there is an ipel-source scanner which helps to turn texts written in documents into audios and can be listened to, Victor Rita Stratus that accesses information from software materials such as flash drives and read-out loud while an open space to socialise and discuss in groups has been erected.