The DIBF offers a stand for the visually impaired

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The visually impaired stand of the Al Noor Center for the Blind at the 31st Doha International Book Fair.

The 31st Doha International Book Fair offers a unique stand dedicated to the visually impaired – Al Noor Center for the Blind.

Exhibitor Mohamed Hashem told The Peninsula that the center not only educates children in terms of school curriculum but also on learning skills by providing them with the necessary tools which are an alternative of the eyes – to acquire knowledge in general.

The stand offers braille books, a braille typewriter where it teaches you how to type words using braille, a braille typewriter, as well as games like playing cards, UNO cards and even chess with braille function.

Hashem said the center attracts experts from across the country with a particular focus on the Arab world.

“It focuses on the core learning methodology which is Braille, it’s not just about publishing textbooks but also other non-curricular materials,” he said.

“For example, the center published braille in the Holy Quran in an innovative way by printing it on both sides to reduce size and volumes. If published on one side only, it would be doubled in size. We published it in six volumes instead of 12,” he explained.

Additionally, he said the center wants to provide braille teaching materials like the “Braille Teacher,” which trains a person to read and write, which is available at its booth for QR100.

According to Statista, in 2020 alone, 55% of people living with blindness were women, or nearly 24 million women. Meanwhile, 19 million men are living with blindness, 75% of whom were 50 or older.

Data from the Ministry of Public Health revealed that “blue water (glaucoma) is the leading cause of bilateral blindness in Qatar (39%), while the rate of visual impairment accounts for approximately 15% of all disabilities”.

The center falls under the Qatar Foundation for Social Work. It aims to help provide exemplary services to visually impaired people in the areas of education, rehabilitation, community awareness of their issues and human rights advocacy, to enable them to to a more independent life and to improve their integration into society.

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