Photo: Vodacom Lesotho MD, Mohale Ralebitso
2nd November , 2021 – Maseru. Vodacom Lesotho through its charitable arm The Vodacom Lesotho Foundation; today announced the official opening of Vodacom Insight Center, a library for the blind and visually impaired persons. Situated at the State Library, the center will enable equal access and inclusion by providing visually impaired persons with specialized services, books, and materials inappropriate media.
Supported by Vodacom’s 4G technology, the digital library hosts the latest innovation and technology with functionalities including but are not limited to: a world-leading braille translator that supports more than 170 languages in either contracted on uncontracted braille; a high volume production braille printer; a self-contained motion-activated reading device that instantly reads from any book or printed material; and a rechargeable digital talking book reader which enables visually impaired people or those with print disabilities to read digital documents on memory cards or memory sticks.
Commenting on the project, Vodacom Lesotho’s Managing Director Mr. Mohale Ralebitso said “ At the heart of the Vodacom Foundation Insight center is a focus on accessibility. We are excited to launch this project as part of our CSI initiatives to help improve the lives of visually impaired people through the use of technology. As a purpose-led corporate citizen, we have committed to harnessing the power of technology to address social challenges and ensure that we leave no one behind; and the opening of this digital library is a testament to that commitment.
Chairman of the Vodacom LesothoFoundation Board of Trustees Mr. John Matlosa stated that the Foundation is mandated to invest in critical areas of development, in line with the Government of Lesotho’s national strategic development plan and the United Nations sustainable development goals.
“This programme is in line with Sustainable Development Goal 4 to’ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities’ and we are only happy to contribute to the provision of equal access and inclusion to the blind and visually impaired persons through the creation of enabling environment for them to access information.” Matlosa added.
Matlosa indicated that the Foundation seeks to fulfill the promise to read for the visually impaired and other print-disabled people by advocating for the implementation of the changes required by the Marrakesh Treaty to which Lesotho is a signatory. “The Marrakesh Treaty is mandated to facilitate access to published works for persons who are blind or otherwise print-disabled through the improvement of access to knowledge for print-disabled people by giving organizations like libraries the right to reproduce printed works in accessible formats such as Braille, audio, large print, and digital formats, and to exchange these works across national borders.” Matlosa added.
Established in 2009, the Vodacom Lesotho Foundation invests in critical areas of development, in line with the Government of Lesotho’s national strategic development plan. Since 2009, the Foundation has invested over M100 Million, in the areas of health, education, social welfare, gender equity and women empowerment, youth empowerment, sports, and cultural development. The Foundation, in partnership with Vodafone Foundation, has committed to invest a further M120 million, into Lesotho over the next 5 years, in the areas of entrepreneurship and economic development, education, and health.