We believe in working with other service providers so that maximum benefit can be gained from available resources and wasteful duplication of effort can be avoided. We, therefore, team up with others to provide services to the blind. The following are some of our partners in service.
Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB)
CNIB assisted the Centre with the start-up of producing Primary level books some years back. It is now helping us to produce the digital files for some updates of existing titles on our book and new titles. Nationally there have been some major changes in the curriculum at the Primary and Junior Secondary Level causing most publishers to update their textbooks. They also need to be updated in braille and CNIB has taken on board some of them. Special mention is made of the JSS French series On y va which they have put in braille for us. This is the first French series that we have on our book list. We hear that the blind do extremely well as interpreters because they are not easily distracted so we hope that the introduction of these braille editions of On y Va will in time yield some efficient blind interpreters. We are most grateful to CNIB for all the help they give our Centre.
National Braille Council of Nigeria (Nabracon)
Nabracon is an association that brings together producers, educators and end-users of braille of which the Nigerwives Centre is a member. Nabracon is a member of the International Council of English which is a forum for national braille authorities to create awareness of what is happening in the English braille field and pursues projects that will promote the use of English braille internationally. For over a decade the member countries were working on a Unified English Braille Code (UEB) – UK braille and US braille vary to some extent – to harmonise differences and provide symbols for new print symbols such as those introduced with new technology. Nabracon has accepted updated code for use in Nigeria and the Nigerwives Centre uses it for the titles they publish and is involved in promoting its use generally. The Unified English Braille Primer and the UEB Technical Guidelines are available through the Nigerwives Centre and on the website of the International Council of English Braille, www.iceb.org.
Nigeria Association of the Blind (NAB)
This is an association for all blind persons in Nigeria. There are state branches in each state. The Nigerwives Centre cooperates with NAB in many areas; the six blind members of staff are members. Most recently we cooperated with them in pursuing a copyright issue for the access of print materials in alternative formats for the blind. We hope this will lead to interactions with publishers which in turn could result in being able to produce books in braille more quickly. Recently the Lagos Branch of NAB held an awareness event where they recognised persons, organizations, public bodies and government departments that have demonstrated a positive attitude towards blindness issues and persons who are blind. A leaflet was presented at the event to educate the general public on blindness issues, how to interact with blind persons and where to find help with blindness issues. It is available for general circulation in the community. Click here to access the leaflet and where you can obtain copies.
Lagos State Ministry of Education
Over the past few years we have had increased interaction with the Lagos State Ministry of Education; this has been very beneficial to blind students enrolled in schools in Lagos State. Our interaction includes joint participation in workshops and exhibitions, supplying braille textbooks and brailling of examination papers. The last puts the blind students on an equal footing with their sighted peers because each has his/her own exam paper in a format each can access. The teachers too are happy that they no longer have to read exam papers, which is quite taxing for both students and teachers. On behalf of the blind students, we thank and congratulate Lagos State Ministry of Education for giving a lead in providing blind children with equal opportunity in education alongside their sighted peers.
Sightsavers – Kaduna
The Centre was invited to produce books in four subjects for a Primary School Project in Kaduna for the 2009/10 session. They were all new titles and we look forward to receiving a report of how both students and teachers found the books, and to being involved in more such projects. We are also looking into the use of large print books with them.
Soroptimist/Unilag Resource Centre
In 2009 we were asked by Soroptimist International – Eko Branch to suggest a project that would serve blind students at the University of Lagos. A resource centre that provides internet access and text materials in various alternative formats was proposed and accepted. The University provide space and the Centre was formally opened by the Vice-Chancellor in February 2010. The centre is still finding its feet but there is no doubt that it will help to equalise the study facilities available to blind students with those that sighted students take for granted. Soroptimist provide the finance for the project and the Nigerwives Centre provides the technical support.
Anglo-Nigeria Welfare Association for the Blind (ANWAB)
The Director of ANWAB is a blind lawyer who requested assistance in setting up a similar facility to the Nigerwives Centre, with emphasis on the production of brailled books and also providing some rehabilitation services and daily living skills for the blind. We happily helped ANWAB to get started and continue to work closely with them, knowing full well that even two Centres could not provide all the braille book needs of the blind in Nigeria. We share our completed book titles and work together in many other aspects of service to the blind to avoid duplication.