Visit to DAISY South Africa

I got selected in the Ulverscroft/IFLA Best Practice Award to go on a study visit in an organization that serves disabled persons. I received an invitation from DAISY South Africa organization.

The aim of my visit, was to assist DAISY South Africa to train and assist the staff of various organization who serve the blind peopled in DAISY production as well as cooperating with professionals in the DAISY production to solve the technical issues faced in the process of the DAISY book production.

I spent four weeks in South Africa, from the 19th of September till the 17th of October. In the first week, I gave a training to 4 visually impaired staff members of "South African National Council for the Blind" in Pretoria, on the DAISY technology: how to use the DAISY books and how to produce DAISY books. The aim of this training was to enable blind professionals to produce DAISY books using open source tools.

I also Visited the UNISA library, and met with DAISY specialists there and shared expertise in the DAISY production.

In my second week, I worked with Shakila Maharaj, director of DAISY South Africa. I also gave her an overview of the DAISY production and how to use DAISY playback devices and software tools. We also worked on an Action plan for establishing a network for DAISY specialists and trainers in South Africa.

In my third week, I gave a DAISY training in the "Open Air school", a school for disabled students in Durban to 8 teachers and therapists. The aim of this training was to enable the teachers to convert the school material and especially exams into DAISY depending also on open source tools, in other words with low cost. By the end of the training, the teachers were able to produce exam papers and a Microsoft Office manual into DAISY.

In my fourth week, I had a workshop with the DAISY Specialist of "Madrassa An'nour", an Islamic school for blind students In Pietermaritzburg. We worked on producing English/Arabic text, as well as sound editing using professional sound editing tools. We also worked on some samples of an English translation of the Quran.

Yasmine Youssef

Library Specialist

Bibliotheca Alexandria