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Braille notes

May 06, 2019

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I WOULD like to introduce myself as a visually-challenged youth activist. I have been trying to raise a voice for my community for the past six years now. I want to highlight the issue of inaccessibility of currency notes for the visually-challenged.

The article ‘Currency notes of Rs20 and above contain Braille features: SBP’ (March 22) stated that the State Bank of Pakistan claimed that our currency was accessible for visually challenged individuals. The SBP claimed that the currency notes have Braille features which can help the visually-challenged in identification of the amounts.

They explained in great detail that there are raised dots and lines to help us easily understand and use money.

The SBP also launched videos to create awareness about currency note features among the masses, but unfortunately those videos are useless for the visually-challenged as the details in the videos are all for sighted people. A person with vision loss cannot understand those visuals.

Here I would like to challenge the claim by the SBP of the notes being accessible. It’s true that these notes do contain these dots and lines but only in printed form; they are not in Braille. One simply cannot feel any raised feature they are just plain paper for a visually-challenged individual.

At the moment there are seven types of currency notes in the market. Unfortunately, all of them are inaccessible and unidentifiable for a person with no sight.

I request the authorities concerned to please take necessary steps on the proposed subject to make Pakistani currency notes identifiable for a visually-challenged person. This can be done by making those printed dot and lines tactile, which can be felt, not just seen. So anyone can easily recognise the amount by analysing the paper with their fingers.

Suleman Arshad

Karachi

Published in Dawn, May 6th, 2019