An agreement between the Brazilian Association to Aid the Visually Deficient, known as the Laramara Foundation, the National Apprenticeship Service of Industry (Senai), and the Federation of Industries of the State of São Paulo (Fiesp) is intended to implant the production of braille typewriters in Brazil and make the country self-sufficient.
The machine, which was invented in the United States, is used to print raised dot characters for the visually deficient.
“The braille typewriter is for the blind what the pen represents for people without visual deficiencies,” says Victor Siaulys, president of the Laramara Foundation.
According to Siaulys, the machine, which is like a typewriter, has only six keys but is able to print all the letters of the alphabet, mathematics, chemical, and oriental symbols, and musical scores. The machine is used only by the blind or people familiar with braille.
For the president of the foundation, the greatest challenge is to lower the price of the machine, which is sold in Brazil for US$ 1,500 (R$ 3,500). Despite the high cost, there is a waiting line, which is the second obstacle.
To start up production in Brazil, the Association has already obtained a license, free of charge, and built a factory. “350 of the 700 parts of the machine are different; therefore, we need the help of the industrial sector,” Siaulys remarked.
To obtain this help, the Association plans to promote an event to begin the distribution of braille typewriters in the state of São Paulo.
In the first phase the goal is to reach municipalities with over 100 thousand inhabitants. Distribution will then be expanded to cover the entire state and, later, the rest of Brazil, bit by bit.
The name Laramara, used to refer to the Association, comes from the names of Siaulys’ daughter, Lara, who is visually deficient, and his wife, Mara.
The institution, which is based in the capital of São Paulo, seeks, in conjunction with the family, school, and community, to promote the process of development, learning, and inclusion of visually deficient individuals: the blind and those with poor eyesight or multiple deficiencies.
Siaulys estimates that around 1.5 million Brazilians fall into these categories.