Gaza children blinded by violence read again

Gaza children blinded by violence read again
Hundreds of Palestinian children - many injured by Israeli violence - are readjusting to life with the help of technology that will help them.
2 min read
08 February, 2017
Visually impaired children play in the grounds of the Al-Nour Centre, Gaza City [Getty]
Gaza children have been left blind from violence inflicting the besieged Palestinian territory have benefited from a new app to aid their rehabilitation and adjust to life with visual impairment.

The Vision Project was implemented by UNWRA in Gaza City, at the al-Nour Centre for the Visually Impaired, where more than 200 students aged between seven and 13 have been trained to use the cutting-edge app.

The project was launched in March 2016, partly in response to the sustained violence in Gaza in 2014, when Israel pounded the densely packed coastal strip over a seven week period.

The 50 day Gaza war resulted in more than 2,000 Palestinians being killed, the majority of whom were civilians. Sixty six Israeli soldiers and five civilians were also killed, including one child.

Of the 11,000 Palestinians injured during that period, more than 3,000 were children, many of whom will have to live with permanent disabilities. The UNRWA estimates that more than 300,000 children in Gaza require psycho-social support of some kind.

The Voice Dream Reader app allows the children to "read with their ears" by using a touch sensitive computer tablet and text to voice technology.

They can also increase the levels of magnification according to their sight needs, or even use bright colours if necessary.

"Mastering Braille remains the foundation of rehabilitation, but the Vision Project has an immediate transformative effect on the quality of life of visually impaired students and teachers in Gaza," said Interpal, the UK based charity who funded the project.

"Now the technology will be used to help countless Gazan children for the foreseeable future."

The project hopes to expand to the West Bank to help many more Palestinians, on top of the hundreds of Gaza children who have already benefited from the app.

In time, and if the necessary funding is available, UNRWA hopes the technology may be used to help rehabilitate children in Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon.