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Al-Akhbar Braille: Egypt’s First-Ever Magazine for the Visually Impaired

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Al-Akhbar Braille: Egypt’s First-Ever Magazine for the Visually Impaired

A group of Egyptian journalists launched this year a first-of-its-kind magazine for the visually-impaired whose number exceeds three million people in the country, according to World Health Organisation (WHO).

Al-Akhbar Braille, whose first edition was released last March, displays an array of sports, arts, political, economic and social news and feature stories. The team of the magazine consists of eight journalists – most of them are visually-impaired. Some of them enjoy previous experiences in the media field while others have found their first chance in the magazine.

The magazine, published by state-run newspaper Akhbar El-Youm, is issued on a monthly basis and is distributed at public libraries, university libraries, schools and centers for the visually-impaired like institutions concerned with taking care of the blind. The number of the magazine’s print issues ranges between 1,000 and 2,000 every month.

The price of the magazine is only EGP 10 despite the costly printing reaching up to EGP 60 per-version, according to the magazine’s editors.

“The magazine was a dream aiming at addressing the large segment of people with special needs. That segment has remained marginalized for a long time and they were neither represented nor appreciated,” Al-Akhbar Braille’s Editor-in-chief Ahmed El-Maraghy told Egyptian Streets.

“The visually-impaired were feeling so bad about being unable to read newspapers and magazines. That is why issuing such a magazine was very important in order to satisfy the needs of this segment of the society,” he added.

El-Maraghy, who is not visually-impaired but is interested in addressing the needs of the blind people, said that he had a previous experience in launching a magazine for the visually-impaired.

However, the magazine only lasted for 16 issues because it was a private venture. “Now, the situation is different because the magazine is supported by a national newspaper which is Al Akhbar, one of the three largest national press foundations in the country,” El-Maraghy added.

El-Maraghy also hopes that he will launch a website for Al-Akhbar Braille in order to serve the audience who reads news via the internet. “We were due to launch the website this month, but we are now in the process of launching it very soon,” he added.

Karim Atef, head of the committee supervising the Blind Rehabilitation Office, said that the magazine receives a high demand from the visually-impaired who usually visit the office. “They are always keen on asking about the availability of the magazine,” he told local media.

“My biggest dream is that this magazine keeps running and that one of the magazine’s visually-impaired journalists becomes an editor-in-chief one day. He will be the first visually-impaired editor-in-chief in the whole country,” El Maraghy said.

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Menna A. Farouk is a Cairo-based journalist. Her work appeared in several local and international news organizations. Follow her on @MennaFarouk91

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