Compass Braille – opening the door to literacy
At the age of five, Prashanth lost his sight due to an eye disease. He had eight operations for physical conditions in a good hospital, but the doctors feared for his survival. A pastor prayed for him and his physical conditions improved. Prashanth received primary education in Chennai, eastern India and then in a Christian school for the blind. When he returned to Chennai to attend college he visited a mission for the blind and attended their summer camp last year. Prashanth reads the Braille Bible and uses a daily Braille prayer guide. He also sings and shares his testimony in churches. His ultimate aim is to qualify as a college professor.
At Compass Braille we have been transcribing and producing Braille Bibles in various languages since 1990. Our original goal was to complete 11 Indian languages. As technology has progressed and our expertise has grown, we have been able to produce Bibles and books in 50 languages and are working on others. We could do more if we had more funding. A large percentage of our Braille goes to countries in South Asia and particularly India which is home to 25% of the World’s blind.
For those who read it, Braille is fundamental – it is the door to literacy on which all education hinges. When a person with visual disabilities becomes Braille literate they have personal access to knowledge – they have the opportunity of an education and the chance to become computer literate. They can read when they want to and enjoy delving into God’s word when they feel like it. They no longer need to wait until someone else is ready to read to them. With this method of reading the only disparity is availability.
Our Braille is distributed free of charge by various groups who work among people with visual disabilities in churches, schools, ministry training programmes and community healthcare projects. Each year we produce thousands of Braille books and Bible portions. For example, one of our more recent initiatives was to produce ‘mini-Braille Bible Libraries’ for use in rural Indian house churches. The mini libraries consist of ten or twelve Braille Bible portions – containing one or more Biblical books – which are chosen by the house church concerned. This allows the group to study together and for those who attend to borrow portions to study at home. This project has grown enormously and, as a result, many rural groups throughout India have been reached.
Article by: Glennis Dowling, Compass Braille