Fiyori Tewolde, a former journalist at the state-controlled Addis Zemen newspaper, has created and distributed Ethiopia’s first ever braille newspaper. The newspaper is named Fetil (which is the Amharic word for ‘thread’) and is scheduled to be published every Wednesday.
According to Fiyori, there is a huge gap in the opportunities that are available to disabled individuals in Ethiopian societies. Her specific focus, in this regard, is to reduce the gap between able-bodied and disabled individuals in the workforce.
Currently, there are more than 4 million visually disabled individuals in the country. The lack of access to information within these communities, such as information regarding job vacancies that are predominantly published on newspapers that the visually disabled cannot use, further exacerbates the problems physical and social issues such individuals face by adding an economic component.
Fiyori aims to tackle this problem, and more, by making Fetil not only a platform for the visually impaired to access information, but by also making it a platform that gives the community a voice by addressing the vast array of issues specific to it.
While the feedback Fiyori has received so far has been overwhelmingly encouraging, there are still some issues that need to be addressed for the full realization of her aims. One of these challenges is the cost of the newspapers. Due to the special material required to publish the newspaper, the current price per unit is 30 ETB; twice the cost of a regular newspaper.
However, Fiyori sees this as an issue that is going to be overcome with the help of charities and investors and her goal is to make the newspapers cost-free for blind people.