Helping the World Literacy Foundation
This campaign is initiated by Angela Bettoni, a 20-year-oldwriter, performer and advocate with Down’s Syndrome who lives in Malta (https://angelabettoni.net/). Angela is supported in this campaign by her parents, Dr Ramani Bettoni and Dr Andrea Bettoni.
Angela was selected for the World Literacy Foundation’s (WLF) Ambassador programme this year. The vision of the WLF is “… a world in which every one of us can read and write, in which there is free access to education for all.” (https://worldliteracyfoundation.org/).
Angela applied for the Ambassador programme as she is passionate about inclusion for those with disabilities, which includes inclusive education. See Angela’s blog post on education for girls with disabilities at: https://openingdoors.org.mt/no-assumptions-please-7/
As part of the programme, WLF ambassadors are encouraged to fundraise for the charity’s projects. They can choose to donate the funds collected to support a project in Africa, South America, UK, USA or Australia.
In search of a braille typewriter
Angela was contacted by another young ambassador, Eric Kallon from Sierra Leone, who had recently started a charity called the Foundation for Children in the country (https://www.facebook.com/FoundationFCSL55).
He asked Angela’s help to obtain a second-hand braille typewriter (“brailler”) for the Paul School for the Blind in Bo, Sierra Leone. He told her that the school currently has only one such machine, and supports about 200 children, both primary and secondary.
The Paul School’s need for a Braille typewriter and other items that help children who are blind to read (such as writing frames/slates and stylus, which are like pens and paper) was confirmed by the Sierra Leone Country Director for Helen Keller International, Dr Mary Hodges, who we contacted in our attempts to locate a brailler.
Eric with children at the Paul School for the Blind
Finding a second-hand brailler
We tried (unsuccessfully) to locate a second-hand brailler by contacting various charities in Africa.
Ultimately we decided to try e-Bay, and were able to find a fully working Perkin Brailler and obtain it for £150. Our proud acquisition is shown below:
You will notice that the brailler looks like a regular old-fashioned typewriter, but with far fewer keys. In fact, it has only 6 keys and a space bar. Pushing various combinations of keys causes different combinations of dots (letters) to be raised on the braille paper, which is thicker than standard paper. Braille is made of arrangements of dots which represent letters of the alphabet, numbers, and punctuation marks.
When the seller, based in the UK, heard why we were buying it, she/he kindly added some freebies in, as shown - course books and tapes plus braille paper:
Shipping to Sierra Leone
Unfortunately E-Bay does not ship to Sierra Leone, so we had to find a company that could do so from the UK, and a friend in the UK who was willing to take charge of organizing it. Both were achieved, although we had one sleepless night when it seemed like the brailler had got lost in London, after leaving the seller and before reaching our friend! The brailler will be shipped from London on the Grande Dakar in mid-August, which is expected to reach Freetown by the end of August, and delivered to the Foundation for Children in early September. The collection and shipping came to another £105. Eric will then be delivering the brailler to the Paul School.
Fundraising for the WLF and for the brailler
Previously, Angela has helped to fundraise for a charity for girls with intellectual disabilities in Sri Lanka called “Hands of Hope” (https://www.facebook.com/Hands-of-Hope-Colombo-350816275411028/), and for a charity in Italy called NAnA Onlus (https://www.nanaonlus.org/en/), that was founded in memory of a friend of hers from Rome. Angela’s books have also been sold by two bookshops in Sri Lanka, with proceeds going to the Sri Lankan charity. Press releases/reports about her book launches/signings:
- Times of Malta: https://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20171217/education/Student-launches-her-fourth-book.665895;
- Times of Malta: https://timesofmalta.com/articles/view/Budding-student-author-launches-third-book.594771
- Nana Newsletter Autumn/Winter 2018
However, because of the uncertainty with the COVID-19 situation, planning for a book presentation and sale was not feasible. Therefore we decided to start this crowdfunding campaign.
Obtaining a license for crowdfunding
It turned out that a fundraising campaign in Malta (even a small online one) requires applying and obtaining a license. A lawyer friend advised us of the steps needed, and members of the Malta Police Force (that issues the license) were very helpful and efficient. Our application was processed and approved in no time.
How the collected funds will be distributed
- Half of the funds collected will be donated to the WLF, to be used for projects in Africa.
- From the other half, if sufficient, expenses made already to buy the brailler (£150) and ship it to Sierra Leone (£105) will be kept by Angela (a total of £255, or €300). Any money in excess will be donated to the Foundation for Children, to be used for literacy-related activities to help the Paul School.
The first 3 people to donate €50+ will receive an autographed copy of one of Angela’s self-published books. If you would like a book, please tell us which one, you can see them at: https://angelabettoni.net/my-books/). The first two are for younger children (below 8 years), the latter two for middle-grade children.
Thank you for helping to make this project a success!