Fundashon Pro Bista


The donation received by Pro Bista will be invested in technology especially for the visually impaired and blind.

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Fundashon Pro Bista, a foundation for visually impaired and blind people recently received a substantial donation from Boolchand’s as part of their 75th anniversary. The main focus of ‘Fundashon Pro Bista’ is the visually impaired and blind in Curaçao. Becoming visually impaired or blind has great consequences for daily life.

Regular things, such as going for a walk, cooking and gardening are not as obvious anymore. The main objective of ‘Fundashon Pro Bista’ is to promote independent living of visually impaired and blind people. Besides this the organization strives for the integration of visually impaired and blind people in our society.

To achieve this several services are offered. These vary from learning in a practically-oriented way to dealing with their visual impairment through recreational activities which promote contact with companions. The different departments and teams of Pro Bista all have their own responsibilities.

On the occasion of its 75th anniversary, Boolchand’s organized on October 27th a seminar about improving the quality of life through technology. Nowadays a lot is possible with the help of modern technology. Quite some products are also being developed to optimize the lives of visually impaired and blind people. Daily life actions, access to written information and employment are the basic elements of human functioning which are greatly influenced by loss of vision.

Persons who are blind or visually impaired are in need of adapted solutions which give them the chance to overcome their impairment and lead as independent a life as possible. The development of adaptive technology for the visually impaired and blind in this respect is of the utmost importance. This kind of technology is called typhlotechnology, derived from the Greek word typhlos (blind).

Its main aim is to use new technology, or to adjust existing technology and make it more accessible to visually impaired or blind people, in order to make their integration more successful. The goal is to counter problems which arise as a consequence of blindness and to realize the social integration of visually impaired and blind persons as smoothly as possible. It is about tackling the tasks and challenges with which people are confronted in their daily activities.

Technological research and development regarding the visually impaired and blind has resulted in a series of products and appliances which allow these persons to lead a normal life: from a football with an internal transmitter which emits a sound when the ball moves, to Braille tags for clothing (which indicate their color), to a tactile world map.

Quite some progress has also been made in making computer environments more accessible, like for example Microsoft Windows. There even exists a cane equipped with sensors which can indicate by means of laser beams and an ear transmitter if there are obstacles on the ground or above at head level. Nowadays there are also navigators for walking routes. So a visually impaired or blind person can enter: ‘from the front door to the mailbox’, and is then instructed how to walk through the ear transmitter.

Fundashon Pro Bista is already making use of some technological aids. There is a library where clients can read spoken reading matter. There is also an IT department where clients can get computer classes using adapted appliances. The courses given by Pro Bista can be taken at the centre itself or at home. A client learns how to operate a computer by using different aids, for example a Braille ruler and special speech programmes. These can also be installed at home or at work. This enables a client to keep on working or to keep in touch with friends and family abroad.

The rehabilitation department also makes quite some use of technology. There are a lot of aids for people with a visual impairment. To use these aids more effectively it is imperative to know how they work. The personnel of the rehabilitation department instruct the clients how to use these aids. Clients can also apply for certain aids at Pro Bista. Among other things a magnifying glass for reading, a feeling cane or a talking watch with a voice which indicates time.

There is a youth department which gives attention to children with a visual impairment. They learn with ease how to deal with their visual limitations. If necessary they also learn Braille. The children also get computer classes from an IT expert. The training sessions they get at Pro Bista are additional to what they already learn at school. Aids can also be applied to facilitate education, for example magnifying rulers and books in Braille.

The donation received by Pro Bista will be invested in technology especially for the visually impaired and blind, because technology is always on the move and we don’t want to stay behind. Pro Bista is very happy with this donation. And it should be noted that private enterprise also contributes to the quality of society. Especially visually impaired and blind people are in a difficult spot in our society, and they easily run the risk of being shut out in this rapidly changing technological world.