Torch Trust for the blind
Torch Trust for the Blind aims to overcome sight loss as a barrier to finding a personal faith in Christ and to live a fulfilled Christian life. Worldwide there are around 160 million blind and partially sighted people. Torch Trust provides Christian literature and fellowship. Making the Bible, hymn/song books, newsletters, daily Bible readings, Christian books, booklets and magazines available in braille, audio and giant print media is a major part of Torch’s mission.
Torch Trust is international and its Christian magazines and materials are distributed to readers in 100 countries. Torch Trust has a depot in Malawi producing braille bibles in a growing number of languages.
Janet Stafford, the international leader of Torch Trust promised to help us set-up a library and to follow up with fresh titles as needed. Janet who was excited about our project asked me to write an article for the Torch Trust braille magazine, about our work in Ghana with blind people which will be read by thousands worldwide. Torch Trust are sending regular supplies of Braille reading materials to us in Tamale as well as other helpful things like audio tapes and even walking sticks.
Torch books are mostly quality hardbacks in volumes so it is good that we are receiving a variety of titles from our suppliers. This is a pioneer work in the pre-dominantly [97%] Muslim northern part of Ghana which will eventually be flooded with Christian Braille books/Bibles and with it a new generation of blind preachers and evangelists fully equipped for the ministry.
Lutheran Braille Workers (LBW)
LBW is one of the world’s largest providers of Christian braille and specialised large print materials. All LBW publications are free of charge made possible through the efforts of over five thousand faithful volunteers located in 194 work centres through-out the USA and Canada. These volunteer workers produced 16,945,152 pages of material in 2009. Their gifts of time and the generous monetary gifts received from donors make it possible to send Christian material in more than thirty languages to visually impaired people in more than 120 countries. Joanna Ervin the production co-ordinator of LBW, was excited about our project and promised to send us whatever we needed to set-up a library in Tamale and also to supply us with Braille bibles and Christian books as we need them in the future.
While Akua has been concentrating on her work in Accra during 2013 I was watching the work I started with the blind people of Tamale gradually develop. My home church Bethesda will remember the testimony of my first visitor to the Resource Centre, Madam Mercy Apoe. Mercy commented as she left with her books on that first day May 9th 2013 she never thought in her lifetime she would ever witness such a place for the blind in Tamale. A couple of days later Mercy, with her young guide and toddler, returned to borrow more books from our library. I was told after they had left that Mercy had walked seven miles with the children along a very busy, dangerous road to get the books.
The next day I received an e-mail from Joanna Ervin the production co-ordinator of Lutheran Braille Workers [L.B.W.] U.S.A. who supplies us with Christian Braille books and Bibles.
Joanna was touched by the short testimony I posted about Mercy on the internet and mentioned that she was going to include the testimony in the next L.B.W. newsletter which has over 30,000 recipients plus close on 6,000 readers from their own volunteer workers. Joanna also insisted that “If Mercy Apoe is blind and willing to walk 7 miles with two young children for the word of God she should have her own library.” She added that for anyone who comes to our library who we discern to be serious about God we can give them as many titles as they want. L.B.W. will simply ‘top up’ the books we have given away as required. L.B.W. sent over one hundred boxes of Braille books/Bibles for most of the summer months every week in 2013 so we have a huge stock.
Mercy’s testimony can be read by logging on www.LBWinc.org and winter newsletter 2014.
I presented Mercy with her own personal library in front of over 1,000 people at her church in Tamale.
More news about our work with the blind can be found on our newsletters available from the web site