By Thailand Association of the Blind
There are many areas of improvements in the past 2 year (2016-2018). Some of the important development projects are as follows:
Thailand association of the blind (TAB) had important presentation of the sub-regional meeting on Marrakesh treaty and the production and exchange of accessible books at Grand Pacific hotel in Singapore on November 2017. The presentation had 3 main points: availability of accessible format copies of books, national possibilities for cross border exchange in the ASEAN region and Strategies for encouraging the promotion and ratification of Marrakesh Treaty in Thailand.
In recently, on March 28th, 2017, the cabinet approved the accession of Marrakesh Treaty for Thailand and passed resolution to seek for approval from the National Legislative Assembly (NLA). And finally process, the National Legislative Assembly approved the accession of Marrakesh Treaty on April 21st, 2017.
After The Cabinet together with the support from the national legislative assembly (NLA) has passed the resolution to ratify the Marrakesh Treaty Now that there is a policy as a foundation, once the treat has come into forced or implemented, persons with print disabilities, in this case, persons with visual impairment, will have greater access to information.
1. National Library for the Blind and Print Disabled Promote Literacy Among Blind Society
National Library for the Blind and Print Disabled with sponsorship from the National Broadcasting and Telecommunication Commission (NBTC) provides accessible format copies of books. Such as
- compact disc (CD) for rural area and elderly.
- TAB online
At present, There are more than 5,000 DAISY books (60 new titles per month), and more than 4,000 library members
2. the 5Th International Braille Reading-Writing Contest
Thailand Association of the Blind (TAB), together with Ratchasuda College, Mahidol University, organized the 5th International Braille Reading-Writing Contest. The event was held on Saturday January 20, 2018. atRatchasuda College. There are two categories
(1) ages 15 til 25 and
(2) ages above 25.
This year, there were participants from 4 countries;, which are Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. In addition, we started to use Unified English Braille (UEB) into the contest , In order to encourage the use of UEB as in other English-speaking countries.
3. Street to Star Project (S2S Project)
Another project we did in cooperation with the Department for the Empowerment ofPersons with Disabilities was called “From Street to Stars” (S2S). The project brought over 300 blind street musicians to train and compete with one another. Out of these musicians, 50 who passed the competition will release their singles. This means that blind musicians will finally open to new career path widely get accepted.
4. Ministry of Social Development and Human Security Organizing S2S Concert
The cooperation project between The Department for the Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, Ministry of Social Development and Human Security together with “From Street to Stars Project” (S2S) was organizing the “S2S: Light of Love” concert, featuring over 50 blind citizens alongside famous singers, all together singing in tribute to His Majesty the late King BhumibolAdulyadej on Thursday 25th of May 2017 at Thailand Cultural Centre. It was the first concert performed by blind musicians in Thailand.
5. ‘No One Left Behind’ Cycling Trip Raises Fund for Disabled
A charity cycling trip called “No One Left Behind” raised fund for disabled people in just nine days, with the cyclists reaching their final destination in Chiang Mai.
The project, a first in Thailand, involved 20 visually impaired people and another 20 volunteers who rode two-seater bikes for the 867-kilometre journey from Bangkok to Chiang Dao district in Chiang Mai province in the north of Thailand.
It was arranged by the Universal Foundation for Persons with Disabilities. The trip started in Bangkok on January 28, and headed north through eight other provinces before arriving in Chiang Mai.
The money raised will fund a vocational training center for persons with disabilities in Chiang Dao district, with the aim of empowering and giving opportunities to the disabled in the area, generating greater income and reducing poverty.
Universal Foundation for Persons with Disabilities focuses on career training across the country to enable disabled persons to be self-reliant and enhancing the capability of disabled persons which also improves the Thai perception to be that the disabled persons are not a burden to society.
The training courses are based on the 3 careers as following: Mushroom Farming, Cricket Farming and Hydroponic vegetable Farming.
6. Seminar on Digital Economy for the Blind
Digital Economy for the blind seminar was organized by Thai Graduate Society of the Blind.It was a 3-day seminar for preparing the blind to aware and prepare themselves ready into digital 4.0 age. There are 60 participants joined on 23-25 March 2018 at Elizabeth hotel. One of the purposes of this seminar is to brain stormed among blind persons and send the feedback to policy makers and government.
7. Teaching Braille Training for Teachers in the School for the Blind Across Country
These trainings were organized by Thailand Association of the Blind (TAB) cooperated with the Thai Braille Promotion and Development Fund.
There were 4 trainings in each region. 1st at Bangkok school for the blind, 2nd at Northern School for The Blind, Chiang Mai, 3rd at The Had YaiThammasakon School For The Blind (Thailand) and 4th at KhonKaen School for the Blind. We trained over 80 teachers using the National Braille Standard 2nd revision which include UEB to ensure that blind students all around the country must read and write braille in the same standard.
8. Implementation of the Promotion of Some Legal Enforcement Through the Tatip Law Center – Thailand Association of the Blind
The Thailand Association of the blind (TAB) intends to promote right awareness and maintain rights for the blind through law service “Tatip law center. Blind people can also offer their complaints to the center on a topic of unfairness and discrimination caused by visual impairment.
Since 2017, the legal sector of the Thailand association of the blind has organized the workshop “the Blind and making juristic acts and contract law without impairment” in many aspects for example insurance, loan agreement for money wit bank, journey flying with airlines and other types of contracts and juristic acts. In 2018, this is the 3rd group of participants trained by experts of this workshop and the Tatip law center wish to continue this project as well.
Moreover, expert with and without visual impairment from this center were invited to be not only speakers for external workshops but also blind representatives to share idea or give suggestion for external seminars dealing with rights for persons with disabilities especially for the blind in national level such as copyright law, accessibility regulations and other legal parts involving disabled people.
However the main issue of their mission contributes to advocate the rights of Thai blinds through law and right base for all in order to decrease as much as possible level of violence for discrimination caused by disabilities.
9. Empowerment of Thai Blind Youth and Adolescence Through the Blind Youth Club of Thailand – Thailand Association of the Blind
The Thailand Association of the blind (TAB) empowers not only Thai blind adults but also Thai blind youngsters. All Thai blind people being from 15-25 years old implicitly become member of the blind youth club of Thailand. In case of occupations of the members, these are students, massagers, lottery buyers and music artists. The Club has responsibilities to support and provoke ability and opportunities of their young blind members.
On the subject of their works, the blind youth club of Thailand sent young blind representatives under the name of NGO to participate in the Children and Youth Council of Thailand. Furthermore, the Club annually organizes young blind leadership training camp and English camp. The blind youth club of Thailand and their members participated in the 21st TAB national convention in 2018 in Suphanburi province. In terms of the young blind leadership training camp, it’s considered as the culture of this club. They pay attention to empower new generation of blind youth with full potential. Improving English skill of young blind members, the Club also organizes English camp every year, around 50 participants took part in English camp this year occurred in Lopburi province. The blind youth club of Thailand and their members participated in the workshop of rights and law “the Blind and making juristic acts and contract law without impairment” organized by Tatip center of law, Thailand Association of the blind.
For future plan, the blind youth club of Thailand wish to continue their main responsibilities inflaming Thai blind teenagers through activities providing to leadership, abilities and language proficiency.
10. Empowerment of Thai Blind Musicians and Other Blind People Through TAB Music Academy – Thailand Association of the Blind
The TAB Music Academy collaborating with the Thailand Association of the Blind was officially established in 2017. This is the music academy for seeking and selecting blind singers and musicians around Thailand, and they were trained by music experts and artists of the country in order to improve their music potential to be professional blind singers and musicians.
At the Thailand cultural center in Bangkok, the TAB Music Academy organized the first official concert called “S2S Light of Love” on May 25, 2017, lots of singers and musicians with visual impairment trained in the project “From Street to Stars – S2S” performed their music show on stage with honor and pride. The project “From Street to Stars or S2S” is created to support blind musicians and blind singers to professionally perform in public places in order to eliminate the negative image of blind musicians and blind singers showing along streets The TAB Music Academy intends to promote and give careers opportunities to their blind music artists in public and private events and music activities in order to have income sustainably obtained from their music occupations.
On June 22, 2018, the TAB Music Academy cooperating with the ministry of Social Development and Human Security and other partnerships organized the 5th Thailand Blind Music Festival with the theme ofS2S Fly High “No One Left Behind”. For this year, it’s more elegant to be created in 3 cities NakornPhanom, Phuketh and the biggest stage occurred at the Thailand national theatre in Bangkok.
For the stage of Bangkok, the minister of Social Development and Human Security’s ministry the General AnuntapornKanchanarath was officially the president in the opening ceremony. Performed by more than 100 blind singers and blinds musicians. , the concert was created for 2 rounds of performance : the afternoon round during 12.00-16.00 and the night round during 16.30-22.30.
The main objectives of the concert for this year are not only to offer the happiness for all through music but also to make a fundraising for building the S2S studio. The concert for the night round was also live on NBT Thai TV channel.There were blind singers and blind musicians to perform their show for example S2S Fly High artists increasingly developed by the “From Street to Stars” Project, Diamond band – the blind music band travelling on the music way much more than 15 years, Or Chao band – the new champion of the 4th Blind Folk Song band Contest on April 2018, Sweet and Cool band playing sweet songs with the piano and the saxophone and the Jazz Battle between Jazz Impression and S2S Jazz Version – the 1st Blind Jazz band in Thailand etc.
In addition, blind artists and blind music band from other ASEAN countries participated in this fabulous music festival as The Sunshine from Vietnam, Daniel Blind Busker from Singapore, Toetoe Linn Guitar Hero from Myanmar, Happy Mahori from Lao PDR and Baraya from Indonesia. Moreover, there was the very special shows collaborating between kids from Tree Music, the Bangkok School for the Blind, Punyawuthikorn School, Sri Sangvalya Chiang Mai School and Ramintra School for the Blind.
After that, the TAB Music Academy organized the music workshop for sharing knowledge and experience between Thai music experts, blind music artists from Thailand and other ASEAN countries on June 23-25, 2018 at S.D. Avenue Hotel in Bangkok.
11. Empowerment of Thai Blind Women Under the Lead of the Association of the Blind Women in Thailand
The Association of the blind women in Thailand has more than 500 blind female members separated to well manage by 5 regional parts of Thailand; 1.Eastern part and Bangkok 2.Northern part 3.North eastern part 4.Central part and 5.Southern part. Annually, the convention of Association of the blind women in Thailand is created in order to have a meeting, brainstorm and solve problems represented by the members and brought to the convention by delegates of each region. Moreover, the Association of the blind women in Thailand regularly collaborate with the Thailand Association of the blind (TAB) in the annual TAB national convention and other affairs concerning blind women in Thailand.
Intending to encourage knowledge, competences and right awareness of their members, the Association of the blind women in Thailand organized activities and seminars in many dimensions. For example, right awareness of blind women project was built to all members in order to make understand less doubtfully about their rights regarding to Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities Act of Thailand and also the Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). For the past two years, there were projects that supported well social manners of blind women as table manners, greeting, makeup and dressing. Besides, activities in terms of religions and charity were created such as Dhamma practice and meditation, yoga exercise. The Association also created activities of the members at a welfare home for old persons situated in Ratchaburi province where 40 members of the Association went to offer happiness to aging persons through Thai traditional massage, singing and amusing activities. There were as well training course to instruct their members how to produce dish washing liquids and soap themselves. For supporting each project, it’s necessary to regularly organize volunteers training course program, these trained volunteers can guide or help the blind correctly.
Above all, the Association of the blind women in Thailand has a future plan to generate a project in which family members of blind female members can participate so that their family members have good chances to learn and make understand more clearly their family blind members.
12. Establishment of Guidedogcenter in Thailand
This is our brand-new mega project. Recently, Thailand Association of the Blind has collaborated with Royal Society for Blind People Australia and Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, Ministry of Social Welfare and Human Security Thailand to provide guidedog service for Thai blind people. There are 4 steps of mutual collaboration, e.g. training guidedog users, training for trainers, train the guidedog both for the dog imported from Australia and the local dog. This will be the first guidedog center both in the country and the ASEAN region.
So to conclude, in the past year, there have been many development projects related to the empowerment of persons with visual impairment in Thailand covering the development of the rehabilitation training, education, public services and the careers for blind people in Thailand. Some of the projects are solely organized and run by a single organization, some are run by the collaboration between two or more NGOs and some are run by the collaboration between governmental and private agencies.