Dog Guide Handlers Australia 2021 National Conference

In 2021 Dog Guide Handlers Australia (DGHA) held its National Bi-Annual conference online via Zoom on Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th June.

You can listen to the audio or read the transcriptions of the 2 days here: Dog Guide Handlers Australia Conferences page

Deafblind Camp 2021 in Western Australia

Due to COVID-19 the 2020 Western Australian Deafblind Camp has had to be postponed until March 2021, see details below.

“Glitz & Glamour on the Red Carpet”
NEW DATE: Friday the 12th of March to Monday the 15th of March, 2021
Woodman Point, Coogee South of Fremantle, Western Australia.

For more information about the Deafblind Camp 2021, please go to our Deafblind Camp 2021 page

WA Deafblind Camp 2021 Auslan Video

Below is a link to a Auslan video with information on the WA Deafblind camp 2021

WA Deafblind camp Auslan Video

Video Transcript:

Hello. My name is Eddie Szczepanik from Perth, WA. Hello to all Deafblind campers and volunteers. We wanted to give you the latest update about the WA Deafblind camp.

The camp will now be held on March 2021. Thank you all for your patience in waiting for this announcement in relation to the WA Deafblind camp. We had hoped that the COVID-19 situation would have been resolved by November of this year. If that turned out to be the case then the camp could have still gone ahead but because of what is happening in Victoria, unfortunately the camp cannot go ahead in November.

We did not want the camp to go ahead without our eastern state friends having the opportunity to attend. So, we requested for an extension for the funding to run the camp. The funding body approved this request and allowed the extension to use the funds by April 2021. That means the money to run the camp must be spent by that time.

We checked with the camp site for availability and have now made a booking for the camp to be held on the following dates: Friday 12th March to Monday 15th March, 2021.

This video announcement is to advise that everything to do with the camp is basically the same for the full four days. Only the date has been changed from November 2020, to March of 2021.

The camp will still be run at Woodman Point, Coogee, the same camp site as last time. Activities at the camp will go ahead as originally planned. The Planning Committee has been working hard to make sure that everyone understands the changes and can still proceed with their plans to attend the camp, here in WA.

Flights will need to be booked or changed and if you plan to bring your own Comm-guide, their availability will need to be confirmed for the new dates. An invoice will be sent out to all Deafblind campers for $150, by the end of November so that you will be able to pay for camp. We will be in touch with all individuals to confirm that you are still able to attend the camp in March.

Hopefully, the quarantine restrictions will be lifted by then and everyone can come to Perth. If for some reason, that doesn’t happen and restrictions are still in place, we unfortunately will not be able to extend the camp date again and the camp will go ahead as scheduled for those who are able to get here. If you have paid for the camp and are unable to attend, refunds will be made available. If people are unable to attend for that reason, it would be a major disappointment for all of us. So, fingers crossed the government keeps on top of the COVID-19 situation and controls the spread of the virus, and hopefully the borders will be open again soon enough.

We are trying our best to make sure that all the national Deafblind community have the opportunity to come to this important event. But, as you know, some things are out of our control. So, be positive that everything will turn out for the best. And please, please let us know if you have any concerns or questions. We will be in touch again soon in regard to what will happen next. See you all in March! Love you guys! Bye for now.


The World Blind Union Asia Pacific Onkyo Braille Essay competition is now open for entries. If you or someone you know is a writer who uses braille, please read the information below and share with your networks. We look forward to receiving your entries by 15 May 2020.
Should you have any questions, please contact Samantha Marsh on 1800 033 660.

About the Contest:

This Braille Essay Contest is made possible through the courtesy and generous financial support of The Onkyo Corporation Ltd. of Japan, a leading manufacturer of quality audio-visual equipment. The Contest is managed by the World Blind Union-Asia Pacific (WBUAP). The Contest is open to all blind and vision-impaired persons from the ages of 14 years and above in the WBUAP Region. However, the Otsuki winners of 2018 and 2019 are not eligible to participate.

The purpose of the contest is to promote Braille literacy and encourage the reading and writing of Braille; and to encourage cultural and social interaction among blind and vision impaired persons through their writings. The top 5 entries will be sent to the WBUAP Onkyo Selection Committee for final consideration, and any winning Australian entries will be published in Blind Citizens News.

This is an annual competition, with cash prizes awarded to the best seven entries received from within the WBU Asia Pacific Region. The main prize, “the Otsuki Prize” is $US 1000. Other prizes are for “Excellent Works” ($US 500) and “Fine Works” (either $US 300 or $US 200) depending on the age group.

Participation in the contest is open to people from 14 years of age, living in the World Blind Union-Asia Pacific Region. Entries are divided into two age groups: persons between the ages of 14 and 25 years; and persons from the age of 26 years upwards.

Essay topics:

  • If Braille is still relevant for the blind today, how and what measures ought to be taken to promote its usage?
  • The people/organisations who have helped me to overcome my blindness and be a useful person.
  • If you were to be given three wishes, what would they be and why?
  • The magic of music and what it means to me.

Closing date is 15 May 2020. Winners will be notified in November 2020.

Essays must be between 700 and 1,000 words and presented in hard copy Braille or in computerized Braille if you can provide proof of your Braille literacy. This can be in the form of a letter from your Braille instructor, teacher or other professional who can vouch for your skills.

When submitting your essay to BCA, you must also provide:
An electronic photo of yourself, a cover letter stating your full name, address, and contact details, your date of birth, your status ie. student, home maker, worker. If a student state what school you are from including the name, address and email contact for your school.

Please submit entries to BCA by 15th May 2020 at:

Attention: Samantha Marsh
Blind Citizens Australia
Ross House
Level 3, 247-251 Flinders Lane
Melbourne VIC 3000

World Braille Day, 4th January 2020

The International Council for Education of People with Visual Impairment (ICEVI) joins the United Nations and global disability community in celebrating World Braille Day on Saturday 4th January 2020. This day marks the 211th anniversary of Louis Braille’s birth and his creation at age 15 of a tactile reading and writing system that is called Braille in his honour.

World Braille Day was established by the United Nations in 2019 to raise awareness of the importance of braille in the context of education, freedom of expression and opinion, and social inclusion – see The UN emphasises the provision of braille and other accessible forms of communication in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD, 2006, Articles 2, 9, 21 and 24).

ICEVI, in partnership with the World Blind Union (WBU), released a Braille Literacy Position Statement in 2016, in recognition of the importance placed on braille in the United Nations CRPD. ICEVI and WBU highlight that “Braille represents competency, independence, and equality…learning to read and write in braille can make a dramatic difference in the life of a visually impaired child or adult”. WBU and ICEVI set out the following four recommendations in the Braille Literacy Position Statement:

  1. We strongly recommend that all blind and severely partially-sighted children be given the opportunity to learn and become proficient in braille reading and writing skills and that they must receive instruction from those who are thoroughly trained and qualified to teach braille.
  2. We strongly recommend that all blind persons have access to a variety of books and publications in braille that are up-to-date and include such materials as textbooks, education support materials, leisure reading materials and materials that support their full and active participation in community life.
  3. While advances in technology enable faster and more efficient production and use of Braille, we recommend that technology should be used to enhance the use of Braille, not to replace it.
  4. We recommend that all governments should ratify the WIPO Marrakesh Treaty which allows for copyright exceptions to facilitate the creation of accessible versions of books and other copyrighted works for visually impaired persons and for the import and export of such materials across national boundaries.

On behalf of ICEVI, I invite you to join us in celebrating World Braille Day on 4th January, and in promoting braille as an essential means of communication and social and educational inclusion for persons with visual impairment.

Dr Frances Gentle, President, ICEVI
AO, PhD, D. Litt. Honoris Causa
Conjoint Lecturer, RIDBC Renwick Centre;
President, International Council for Education of People with Visual Impairment (ICEVI);
and Co-President, South Pacific Educators in Vision Impairment (SPEVI)

OZeWAI national accessibility conference coming to Perth in February 2020

OZeWAI, Australia’s national digital accessibility conference, has announced that it will be holding its next gathering in Perth, Western Australia and co-locating with the Perth Web Accessibility Camp (PWAC). The camp will be held 11-13 February 2020.

In an e-mail announcement, it was stated that:

“OzeWAI is partnering with the Perth Web Accessibility Camp (PWAC) to host the Australian Accessibility Conference. Our conference aim is to enhance the professional understanding of accessibility across Australia through networking, education and industry certification.

Participants will have the opportunity to:

  • Learn about and contribute to the future direction of accessibility.
  • Collaborate in the accessibility ‘Shark Tank’
  • Undertake internationally recognised industry certification exams
  • Celebrate achievements in accessibility”

The OZeWAI conference has been running for over 20 years with this marking its first time being held in Perth. By co-locating with the seventh Perth Web Accessibility Camp the move ensures that attendees will be supported whether they are just starting out on the accessibility journey or are seasoned digital access professionals.

Additional information can be found on the OZeWAI website You can also view a selection of PWAC 2019 highlights