Organised by the Greek Ombudsman (GO)
1) Brief description of the initiative
Following certain requests from blind activists the GO has envisaged, for some years now, to make its internet material accessible to the blind and visually impaired people. With the help of its IT specialized staff this became to a significant extent a reality. Nevertheless, an initiative to translate any of its printed material to Braille language has never been undertaken or even explored up to now. The anti-discrimination team, starting from scratch, decided to seek advice from blind support groups as to the best suitable methods of printed communication with this group. Following a few e-mails and a productive meeting with the representative of a well established educational institute for the blind, the GO received enough information to make decisions and go ahead with the publication. It was most useful that, in parallel with the above, the GO received suggestions for a similar pattern of approach to this issue from the Northern Ireland Equality Commission, following our query on the Equinet forum.
On the leaflet design the GO’s options were limited since a Braille digit is of a standard size, that equals the length of a fingertip. Therefore, when translated the text of the short 3-fold leaflet became a 14 page A4 size
booklet. The printing is done by special printers that convert the normal documents (.doc, .txt, etc.) to Braille digits. In the GO’s case, before going ahead with the production, the services of a blind proofreader were employed. The GO opted also for the publication to have a normal printed cover in order for the text to be recognizable by any administrator.
The GO concluded that the production should be made by a specialized production unit using primarily blind personnel, in order to maximize the social output.
In order to pinpoint the exact users of Braille language who will benefit more, the GO utilized the senders lists of the blind support groups. A major part of the distribution was done directly by the support groups themselves and the publication was also advertised in their respective internet and periodical publications. Amongst the recipients were specialized and normal schools that have at least one blind student, public libraries and disability related social/medical services.