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ETHIOPIA: Launch of first-ever Braille newspaper in Africa

A Braille newspaper for the blind – believed to be the first of its kind in Africa – is to be launched in Ethiopia.

The newspaper – which is likely to be called Ethionews Braille – will include news items, politics, sports and health issues.

"This is the first ever Braille newspaper for Africa," said Emebet Zewde, who is launching the 40 page newspaper at the end of the month.

She said it offers Ethiopia's 100,000 blind people the chance to access information that otherwise they are often excluded from.

Emebet said that although blind people can listen to the radio and television they cannot keep the material.

"With a newspaper people can refer back to it time and time again," she said. "They can use it as an information library.

"At present blind people have very little information on HIV/AIDS or reproductive health and gender issues. This is a way we can offer this information."

The idea came to Emebet after working as a public relations officer with the Ethiopian National Association for the Blind.

The paper will be free to blind people. "There is widespread poverty among the blind and so we cannot charge for the paper," she said. "But that poses problems over how sustainable it is.
We are looking for additional support."

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