Discovery Channel's distributor in Ukraine, together the Ukrainian Association of the Blind and Kyiv city authorities, on Sept. 7 installed the first Braille information stand near the People's Friendship Arch, so that people with impaired vision can access information about the landmark monument on the spot.
Four more such stands at various spots around Kyiv will be set up by the end of 2015 as part of the See The Blind project, which is aimed at supporting people with special needs.
“Trying to broaden horizons, we’re opening up a tourist footpath for blind people,” Director of Discovery Networks in Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus and Baltic countries Anna Pak said during the presentation of the information stand on Sept. 7. “We’re definitely going to install stands at Landscape Avenue, Volodymyr Hill, the Park of Eternal Glory and the Pedestrian Bridge.”
The texts were written by well-known modern Ukrainian writers, Lubko Deresh, Galyna Tkachuk, Kateryna Babkina, Oles Ilchenko and Kseniya Kharchenko, so that “blind people can imagine the picture brightly in their thoughts,” the project organizers said. Once written, the texts were converted into Braille, a form of writing for the blind with patterns of raised dots that can be read by touch.
“The main purpose (of the stands) is to remind people about those with special needs, even though I doubt that five information stands will completely change attitudes towards them. We have to continue to carry out such initiatives as these,” the writer Lubko Deresh said.
Mykhailo Osadchy, the deputy head of the Ukrainian Association of the Blind was the first blind person to read the whole text of the information stand at the People’s Friendship Arch: “There is plenty of sky here. The view of the Dnipro River from the Kyiv hills gives a feeling of calm floating over the water, the city. There is a cozy peninsula below, Podil. You fix your eyes on some streets, and in a moment, you recognize them with satisfaction. The main view of the river port invites you to embark on a voyage. Trukhaniv island, from a bird’s-eye view, seems to be a small, forest from times past, in the middle of a big city.”
Kyiv Post staff writer Denis Krasnikov can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org