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December 12, 2003A vision of a future. Daily Summit has been hearing from a blind Ethiopian man who plans to help others overcome their loss of sight by helping them get access to screen readers and text-to-speech software.
Despite losing his sight when he was seven, Getu Mulatu from Ethiopia finished school and went to Univeristy where he gained two degrees.
Now he has co-founded the Adaptive Technology Centre for the Blind to make it easier for other people to follow in admirable footsteps.
Mr Getu told us about his scheme which gives blind people the "liberty" to work and learn. There are estimated to be at least 500,000 blind people in Ethiopia, not including people with partial sight problems. Their future is generally bleak with most either dependent on their families or begging on the streets, Mr Getu said.
Like many he lost his sight to an illness that could have been easily treated.
"With speaking screen reader and text-to-speech software I no longer have to rely on volunteers to read to me and attend my secretarial needs," Mr Getu said.
"I can send e-mails, write reports and invitations for the centre on my own."
They have already trained more than 70 people ranging from school children to doctors. The next stage is to reach more people, particularly in the remote areas of the country, and to introduce braille equipment. But, as ever, they need second hand computers, volunteers and funds...