“Most of the blind and visually impaired people in the country have very little access to books and information in general,” explains Sterjo Dimov, the Secretary General of the National Union of the Blind of the Republic of Macedonia. This unfortunate reality is what prompted the Parliamentary Institute to make important information about the Assembly available in Braille and audiobooks. Dimov expressed his appreciation for the efforts of the Assembly to be more open and inclusive of vulnerable groups. “The National Union of the Blind, which is a multiethnic organization, is especially grateful that the materials were produced not only in Macedonian, but in Albanian as well,” said Dimov.
Information materials were prepared in Braille, and printed in Macedonian and Albanian languages using a special computer program. They include information about the Assembly, the procedure for adoption of laws, political control and oversight, and the history of parliamentarianism in Macedonia. Going forward, the Parliamentary Institute will collaborate with students from the Art Academy to prepare a 3D tactile model of the building of the Assembly. This will give blind people the opportunity to get familiar with the building of the Assembly by using their sense of touch.
Switzerland has been supporting the Assembly of the Republic of Macedonia in the establishment and development of the Parliamentary Institute since 2010. The Parliamentary Institute’s core functions include provision of research and analysis for Members of Parliament, development and management of a research archive and library of the Assembly, as well as organized education and communication services for the citizens and internal training for MPs and parliamentary service staff.