Sporsho, a stall for visually impaired booklovers

An unconventional publishing house, styled Sporsho Braille publication, dedicated to the visually impaired booklovers, has set up its stall on the Bangla Academy premises like in previous years, with the aim of fulfilling the book cravings of visually impaired people. The stall is grabbing the attention of all booklovers at the Amar Ekushey book fair.

After their launch in 2009, Sporsho, till 2020, published a total of 83 books with its dot coding to its credit. Braille is a form of written language for blind people, in which characters are represented by patterns of raised dots that are felt with the fingertips. They run campaign for the blind with the slogan People are blind not because they are unable to see, but because they do not have the knowledge to visualize life from within.

Liya Akter, sales executive of Sporsho stall, said  Many people of different classes come to the stall out of curiosity. As we are starting to render our services for only three days, we are expecting many more to visit the stall. We, on behalf of Sporsho, provide braille books free of cost. After the readers are done reading the books, they either return them to us or give them to someone else in their community, she added. 

This year they got good response than in previous ones, and now they plan to engage renowned writers to publish their books in Braille. she said. She urged all the stalls to keep books for the braille community.  Rubel Hossain, a master's student from Dhaka University, also a visually impaired person, said like other general people, visually challenged people do not get the chance to read diverse books and Sporsho is giving us a chance to pursue knowledge.

Md Tariqul Islam Nazim, an associate assigned to help braille readers, said The books are published by a specialized braille printer. After printing, the Disabled Child Foundation (DCF) does the work of binding the books.  The stall is located near the exit gate of the Bangla Academy fair. Visually impaired people are also allowed to explore the world through books so the initiative was taken to provide books of different genres for them, he added.

Braille is a tactile writing system invented by Louis Braille in France in 1824. It gradually spread beyond France, and is now in widespread use across the globe. The blind read braille by feeling letters with their fingertips. Letters in braille are formed by raised dots arranged following a six-position matrix. This year, Bangla Academy has set the theme of the fair as Birth Centenary of Bangabandhu dedicated to the iconic leader, marking his birth centenary.

The authorities have allotted 179 units at the Bangla Academy ground to 126 organizations and 694 at the Suhrawardy Udyan to 434 organizations and a total of 34 pavilions have been allocated this year. The stalls for the mainstream publishing houses have been placed inside Suhrawardy Udyan while government organizations and the Bangla Academy set up their stalls inside Bangla Academy compound.