You are here:
Not in Canada, you say. Pity!
Since the advent of the internet, at least three chat sites designed specifically for people who are blind or partially sighted have been established. I refer to: http://www.for-the-people.com, http://www.vipconduit.com, and http://www.out-of-sight-net.
These sites are each divided into several rooms. There are rooms where you can play games, and others where you can play music for one another. There are rooms for people with diabetes, and others for those who are newly blind. There are also rooms specifically dedicated to musicians, piano tuners, handymen, and other occupations or professions.
While it’s true that anyone worldwide is welcome on any of these sites, it is also true that most of the participants are from the United States. The question I keep asking myself, though, is: would Canadians make use of rooms like that if a similar chat site were to be made available to them in this country?
Similarly, there is a cassette magazine originating in the States called Newsreel. Subscribers record questions or tidbits of information, and the editor puts those recordings together. In the next edition of the magazine, you often hear answers to questions, or comments on previous snippets of information. Would Canadians communicate in a similar fashion if something like that were established here?
I can’t comment on what either the American Foundation of The Blind or the National Federation of The Blind have to offer, but I do know that the American Council of The Blind offers its members the opportunity to participate in a monthly phone call. They discuss either some aspect of membership, or an issue of particular concern. Would members of the Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians participate in similar discussions if they could?
It may well be that blind, deaf-blind, and partially sighted individuals living on this side of the border feel that they can gain just as much from participating in communication opportunities originating in the States, Britain, or elsewhere. I would be terribly upset, however, to think that the reason that similar endeavours haven’t been initiated here has something to do with apathy. Wouldn’t you?