Visually impaired people are set to benefit from the introduction of Braille Bibles that are going to be distributed next year by the Bible Society of Zimbabwe.
The weekly Sunday Mail reported that the initiative is in line with the institution’s mission statement which envisions, “To afford every Zimbabwean the opportunity to access the word of God in their preferred language through translation, production and distribution.”
The Sunday Mail reported that Ms Precious Mafuba, the Bible Society of Zimbabwe liaison officer said her institution has already mobilised the material meant to be distributed to institutions that work with the blind. She said the society needs to make a difference in the lives of visually impaired people.
“The distribution of Braille Bibles to the visually impaired throughout the country is meant to transform not only their faith but their daily life as well because reading the Bible is a strong communication with God.
“Our objective as the Bible Society of Zimbabwe is to make sure that every citizen has been afforded an opportunity to hear the word of God.
‘‘We do this because we know that the only thing that can bring total transformation into a person is the word of God,” said Ms Mafuba.
Institutions that are set to receive the bibles include Jairos Jiri, Kapota School (Masvingo), Lower Gwelo, Bulawayo and Dorothy Duncan libraries for the blind.
“Producing Braille Bibles is a tall order. Braille is printed on thicker paper and takes up more space than standard printed text. A full Braille Bible is typically made up of a stack of at least 40 volumes, weighing nearly 40kgs altogether.
“So we only have books of the Bible, for example the book of John or Genesis,” she said.
Further, she stated that it costs about US$600 to print one complete Braille Bible, about 50 times the cost of a standard printed Bible.
“Audio versions of the Bible for people with visual impairments are readily available but reading is something personal,” said Ms Mafuba.
She said there is a huge difference between listening to someone reading the Bible and reading it for oneself. Besides providing Braille Bibles, the Bible Society of Zimbabwe recently provided Braille booklets titled “Take charge”. They cover topics on HIV/Aids.
Last week, the institution donated over 30 Shona and English Bibles to Emerald Hill School for the deaf. The society relies on donations to provide the Bibles for free.