ABC establishes projects in developing and least-developed countries that provide training and technical assistance to:
- Non-governmental organizations serving people with print disabilities.
- Departments of education.
- Commercial publishers.
We provide training in the following: EPUB3, DAISY and Braille (both electronic and embossed paper).
How do we work?
Through our projects we provide training, technical assistance and funding for the production of educational materials in national languages to be used by primary, secondary and university students who are print disabled.
ABC partners in developing and least-developed countries are encouraged to promote collaboration among all relevant stakeholders, including government agencies and commercial publishers, to ensure enhanced awareness about the production of materials in accessible formats. In this manner, ABC seeks to ensure the sustainability of accessible book production in the medium and long term in the country where a project has been implemented.
Who are our partners?
We are looking for viable partners to act as champions for accessibility within a country. Generally, our partners:
- are not-for-profit organizations that assist people with print disabilities;
- have some experience in producing accessible books;
- commit to work to gain support in the country for the ratification of the Marrakesh VIP Treaty (if applicable) and the production of accessible format books so that activities will continue to be sustainable for the foreseeable future.
Our partner in Argentina, Tiflonexos, hosts a digital library of Spanish language books for the blind and visually impaired with over 50,000 titles.
Founded in 1999 by a group of blind friends, Tiflonexos is now paving the way for accessible book conversion in the region. Through training and funding provided by ABC, Tiflonexos began for the first time producing books in the EPUB3 standard. This flexible, digital format will provide a greater autonomy and choice for people who are print disabled, who may then choose to read with audio, refreshable braille or large print.
Tiflonexos has produced 4,200 educational books in EPUB3, and its ability to produce such a large number is thanks, in large part, to their local contacts with publishers who have provided the original electronic files of these 4,200 books. The accessible books produced from publisher electronic files in this way are text based and can be read using ‘text to speech’ software on reading devices or with refreshable Braille readers.
Accessible publishing tip
Organizations that produce accessible books can increase their output significantly by working with commercial publishers to obtain the original publisher electronic file, which can then be converted into an accessible format.
This approach is more efficient that using human narrators or optical character recognition (OCR) scanning of the paper pages of a book.
In Sri Lanka, the DAISY Lanka Foundation (DLF) is using innovative solutions to break down barriers for students who are print disabled in acquiring books.
With the support of the ABC and generous funding provided by the Government of Australia, DLF was able to convert over 1,000 educational books into accessible formats in one year, an incredible accomplishment considering that similar NGOs produced approximately 100-200 books over the same period.
The difference is due to the agreement by commercial publishers in Sri Lanka to provide the DAISY Lanka Foundation with the electronic files of previously produced books. Traditionally, charitable organizations and NGOs have had to scan every page of hard copy books using OCR technology and then edit the scanned files to make them accessible.
Alternatively, organizations have used human narrators to record audio books. Both of these processes are resource intensive. Using the original electronic files provided by commercial publishers, however, DLF was able to convert books into accessible formats more efficiently and economically.
Our goal is to create a future where all visually impaired students can comfortably acquire and read textbooks on every subject and persons with all disabilities can lead independent, barrier-free lives.Asoka Bandula, Founder, DAISY Lanka Foundation