New centre to assist visually impaired opens in Ħamrun

Visually impaired can now purchase items to make daily life easier locally and receive training in their use

Visually impaired persons for the first time have access to gadgets locally
Visually impaired persons for the first time have access to gadgets locally

The recently established Association to Assist Visually Impaired Persons together with the Foundation for Information Technology Accessibility (FITA) have launched a new collaborative initiative, The Assistive Devices for Visually Impaired Centre (ADVICE). ADVICE is a demonstration facility which carries a range of devices that people can try before purchasing. The devices include a range of kitchen gadgets, talking watches and clocks, games, an array of magnifiers and a sophisticated range of multi-function IT reading and audio devices.

ADVICE was inspired by the range of technology and other innovations specifically designed for visually impaired people, and the lack of accessibility of such in Malta. Previously, those interested have had to browse the internet for products and buy these items from overseas without examining them first-hand and without local support to be trained to use them.

According to European statistics, there are approximately 14,000 people who are visually impaired in Malta and Gozo, with about 10% classified as blind. The higher prevalence of diabetes in Malta may contribute to this number, along with the longer life expectancy.

While the medical care available in Malta and Gozo for visually impaired persons is on a par with that of other developed countries, supplementary services intended to address the psychological experience of isolation, dependency, loss of self esteem, depression and inability to cope with activities of daily living are lacking and fragmented with a number of agencies with limited resources operating in the field.

ADVICE is located at the FITA premises, Gattard House in Blata l-Bajda.

The Centre is open between the hours of 9.00am and 3.00pm and appointments for demonstrations can be made by phone on 2599 2048.

Information about prices and sources of supply will be provided, as well as training and support of the equipment they purchase where it is required.

For additional information, please write to [email protected] or [email protected]

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