New Lending Center Improves Quality of Life for Visually Impaired[ 27/03/2006 ]
A generous donation from Sweden made possible the opening of another important Yad Sarah division:equipment lending for the visually impaired.Optical equipment—including quality state-of-the-art magnifiers, telescopic glasses, microscopic glasses, and regular and mobile closed circuit televisions (CCTVs)—will make reading possible for those with low vision. The department bears the name of Dr. Reinhard Marcuse, a resident of Gothenberg, Sweden, age 93, who is himself blind, and donated the funds for this array of advanced equipment.
Visually impaired persons who wish to borrow optical equipment can request it from Yad Sarah's Rishon LeZion branch where an optometrist is available, free of charge, for assistance in adaptation of the equipment every Wednesday from -14:00.|Optical equipment is lent at no cost for three months. The borrower is only asked for a deposit, fully refundable upon return of the equipment.
Those wishing to borrow closed circuit televisions need to supply an authorization from the Institute for Low Vision.This service is provided country-wide. (Yad Sarah will transport the television to the Yad Sarah branch closest to the borrower's home.) To date, fifty machines are in use.Scores of people are currently waiting for a closed circuit television. Yad Sarah hopes to expand the stock in the coming months.
Volunteers at the new center, Ruth Elazar and Rachel Baron, tell about the service and its great significance to sight impaired clients:
* "I received a telephone call from a rabbi in Bnei Brak whose visually impaired father serves is a rabbi in Jerusalem.He continues to learn in a yeshiva but has great difficulty reading.After acquiring the authorization from the Institute for Low Vision, I asked the son to come with his father to practice reading with a CCTV.The two of them arrived, and the father began reading with the CCTV and joyously said he can once again read and learn Torah "directly from the sefer (book)."
* "A childless elderly woman who speaks six languages and suffers from progressive macular degeneration called us.Though she loves to read, due to her illness she cannot.After receiving the authorization for the CCTV she came to try out the device.When she saw that it worked, she told us how hard it had been for her to be home and not be able to read, and how now her life has changed for the better."
* "A university student's mother phoned us to say that her daughter is visually impaired due to a rare disease.With university examination time approaching the girl could not prepare for the tests without a CCTV.We loaned her a CCTV to enable her to prepare for her examinations."
[Photos: top: Dr. Reinhard Marcuse, bottom: visually-impaired person reading with the aid of a CCTV]