Between September 22 and 24, 2006 the Brasov Association of the Blind organized the regional stages of the annual competitions included in the Romanian Association of the Blind’s calendar. A total of 24 visually impaired competitors from 10 Romanian counties participated to the event which took place at Mariana Pension in Moeciu de Jos.

Read more: Regional stages of the Romanian Association of the Blind annual competitions

In the spirit of good cooperation between the branches of the Romanian Association of the Blind, on June 11, 2006 the Brasov Association of the Blind had the pleasure to receive the visit of 60 members from Gorj branch. The visitors were on a national tour which included Brasov city.

Read more: Brasov is visited by visually impaired people from Gorj

On June 1, 2006 the Brasov Association of the Blind organized a festivity for the 47 visually impaired children registered in the county, to celebrate the International Children's Day.

"This festivity, where both visually impaired and unimpaired children played and enjoyed the event together, without any kind of discrimination, proves that we, the adults, still have much to learn, even from children, about the real integration of visually impaired people in the society" stated Mr. Virgil Lazar, President of the Brasov Association of the Blind.

Volunteers preparing the branch's club for the celebration

 

Children, parents and volunteers, enjoying the event together

The event took place at the Brasov Blind Club, with the participation of the Association's management and volunteers. The festivity was organized with the support of the eight students forming the Brasov Association of the Blind's volunteer group. They decorated the club and raised funds for the purchase of juice and candies.

The generosity of one of the McDonald's restaurants situated in Brasov allowed to the Brasov Association of the Blind to distribute McDonald's menus and toys to the visually impaired children present at the event.

 

The festivity was an occasion to contribute to the integration of visually impaired people, as to the event were invited not only visually impaired children, but also unimpaired children which have visually impaired parents. This offered them the opportunity to meet, to play together and to form new friendships.

The volunteer team and President Virgil Lazar with a few beneficiaries

The opening of the country’s first internet café for visually impaired people took place on May 17, 2006, at the head office of the Brasov Association of the Blind. The facility provides all the necessary conditions to ensure the web access for the visually impaired people, being used in the same time as reading room for the association’s electronic library. The access to the provided services is free for the association’s members.

“The only light you can provide for a blind person is the light of knowledge. The access to modern information and communication technologies will represent a big step towards exiting from the isolation endured by most of the blind people and will allow a better communication between the visually impaired people and the society in which they have to integrate” stated Mr. Virgil Lazar, President of the Brasov Association of the Blind.

President Virgil Lasar presents the equipment of the new internet cafe

Mr. Virgil Lazar, the branch's president, presents the equipment of the new internet cafe

 

The room where the new internet café was opened has three networked computers, all equipped with voice synthesizers and screen readers to make their operation accessible for the visually impaired people. Aided by these computers, the visually impaired people have the possibility to surf on the web and to use modern communication tools, as the e-mail, instant messaging and web phone services.

The new internet cafe's computers are equipped with screen readers and voice synthesizers

The new internet cafe's computers are equipped with all the necessary tools to make their operation accessible, including screen readers and voice synthesizers

The computers equipment also permits their use for reading books in all the common electronic formats, giving the possibility to access the electronic library of the association to the visually impaired people whom don’t possess the necessary hardware to do that at home. This library contains at this time over 1,200 titles and is constantly expanded.

The new internet cafe is opened each week from Monday to Friday between 9:00 and 12:00. Depending on the existing demands, this program can be later extended, even to Saturday and Sunday if necessary.

During the opening ceremony the association also launched its official web site, www.nevazatoribrasov.ro. The site contains information about the Brasov Association of the Blind, useful links and a fundraising campaign aimed to attract the 2% which can be redirected to an NGO by any Romanian citizen from his 2005 year income tax.

 

The audience targeted by the site is formed by the visually impaired people and their relatives, but also by the potential partners, volunteers and donors. To reach it's goal the site will be expanded in the near future by introducing more useful and interesting information for each target group and by adding an English version.

 

By establishing a permanent presence on the web, symbolized by the launch of its own web site, the Brasov Association of the Blind aims to popularize its goals and activities, as a mean to obtain funding for its current activities and future projects and as a mean to reach its goal to contribute to the integration in the society of the visually impaired people.

Also, through the planned future developments for the site, the Brasov Association of the Blind desires to improve communication with its partners, non-governmental and governmental organizations, and with its own members, by offering the most effective support possible, in a permanently accessible manner.

The branch's web site

The branch's web site, a popular destination for the new "internauts"
The trainees work on computers equipped with the latest access technologies, helped by specially qualified trainers

Announced from the beginning of this October, the new computer operator courses for visually impaired people, organized by the Brasov Association of the Blind as the first form of permanently available education for blind people in Romania, attracted a great interest from the potential beneficiaries.

As a consequence the available places for the first series were filled in less than three weeks and the courses started on October 23.

„All the trainees from this first series are very interested and passionate about computers. This passion, the opening toward the world and the practically unlimited access to information offered now by the modern computer technology even for visually impaired people fueled the trainees desire to grab the opportunity given them by the Brasov Association of the Blind” stated Lavinia Bobu, trainer in the Brasov Association of the Blind’s IT & Training Department.

Read more: The new computer operator courses for visually impaired started with the first series