Category: Speak Out
Posted by: TorresMessenger
One of the biggest problems confronting the blind community is a general lack of awareness of what blind persons can do. This is a major problem for us in the blind community because we are denied jobs and promotions; embarrassed and humiliated; and often treated like children.

How many of us as blind persons have been pressured to accept wheelchair service at the airport even after we have made it very clear that we prefer to walk. How many times have the clerk behind the counter totally ignored us and choose to ask someone they perceive to be an assistant for our essential business details including our own name.
What makes this so ridiculous is that there are times when the person they perceive as the assistant is just a perfect stranger who you just met that guided you to the counter and knows absolutely nothing about you; or a blind friend who is along for the ride but looks more sighted than you do. I can go on and on…

One of the major reasons for this is because the sighted public seems to believe that blind people are simply not capable of handling their own affairs. There is a serious lack of awareness of what we can do as blind folks.

Climb Mount Everest? Many sighted folks cannot even conceive a blind person climbing one flight of stairs.

Check out our blindness awareness fliers below and be enlightened.

The Torres Foundation is embarking on a campaign to stamp out ignorance about blindness. Please join us in the effort.

You can help by downloading and distributing our blindness awareness flier below.

Distribution can take many forms. You can:

• Print and distribute in your neighborhood
• Email
• Post on Facebook and other social media sites
• Post on Public bulletin board

Click here for the Microsoft Word version of the flier.

Click here for the PDF version of the flier.

Category: Tech Tips
Posted by: TorresMessenger
The JAWS screen reading software version 12.0 has introduced several new features that enhance the experience of the blind computer user.

Click here to get a summary of the new features.

JAWS Standard, $895.00
JAWS Professional, $1,095.00

Discounts are available for purchases made in multiples of 5.

Please contact the Torres Foundation at (202) 349-8486 if you have any questions. You can also email us at

Category: CampLog
Posted by: TorresMessenger
The Torres Foundation invites you to tune in tonight on WRTFB BridgeCom Radio at 8:00 PM for the groundbreaking We Can Do radio feature on our recently concluded Camp Can Do (CCD) summer program.

Tonight's program will feature an interview with Dr. Craig Moore, a visually impaired Rocket Scientist who was one of the presenters at CCD2011.

In addition, you will also be able to hear the campers participate in a historic presentation with Hoot Gibson, a space shuttle commander with 5 missions into space to his credit. The campers asked excellent questions and were quite thrilled to get the once-in-a-life time opportunity to speak to a real astronaut right there in Bon Accord Tobago. If you miss the show tonight, it will be rebroadcasted on Monday, August 15 and Tuesday August 16 at 9:00 PM U.S. eastern time.

Check it out.

Click here to access WRTFB BridgeCom Radio

You can also go directly to:

Torres Foundation for the blind, charting a new course and making a difference.
Category: CampLog
Posted by: TorresMessenger
The Camp Can Do (CCD) 2010 report is now on-line. It is a comprehensive summary of the Torres Foundation's science and technology Caribbean summer camp for the blind that took place in Bon Accord Tobago in July 2010.

This year the report includes thank you letters from the campers as well as their photographs. The words of the camp song written by Nyol Manswell are also included.

Special thanks to Richie Rich of Iron Eagle for the photography. Also, I would like to Thank Melanie Boyle, Kashmir Mitchell, and Allison Questel for their editing and production support.

Click here to read the report on-line.
Category: CampLog
Posted by: TorresMessenger
Dr. Cary Supalo is a blind scientist and educator. He was invited to conduct the Camp Can Do 2009 science workshop in Bon Accord Tobago. Dr. Supalo has extensively researched the use of adaptive technologies in teaching science curricula to blind students and has been instrumental in developing various innovative laboratory tools and methodologies.

Many of the campers were quite impressed with the various assistive technology tools that were used in the workshop. None of them ever knew that there were so many tools and techniques that were available for a blind person to conduct science experiments. Dr. Supalo was an inspiration to all.

The interview was conducted in September 2009 by Tim Ryan of the Torres Foundation in our Washington DC office.

- Ancil Torres

Click here to play the interview on YouTube.

Category: General
Posted by: TorresMessenger
Arron George was selected by the campers to speak on their behalf at Camp Can Do 2010. He spoke from the heart. He has expressed an interest in pursuing a science degree. Dr. David Wohlers, a visually impaired chemistry professor at Truman State University was able to give Arron mentoring advice at the camp.

Prior to CCD 2010 Arron was frequently told that it was not possible for a blind person to have a career in science. At Camp Can Do 2010 he learned that was not necessarily true. At the time of this post he was studying for his A Level exams and exploring university options in the United States.

Click here to listen to his remarks on You Tube. .
Category: CampLog
Posted by: TorresMessenger
Camp Can Do (CCD) 2010 was truly a wonderful and magical event for all who attended, including camp staff, volunteers, and presenters. Following is a photo essay that captures the last 3 days of the camp. There will be another photo essay that will cover both CCD 2009 and 2010. We hope to adapt future slideshows with audio description for the blind.

Special thanks to Iron Eagle for this production.

Click here to start the show.
Category: General
Posted by: TorresMessinger
On September 27, 2010, The NALIS National Library of Trinidad and Tobago launched a Music Studio for the blind. It is the first public recording studio ever established for the blind in the Caribbean and Latin America. It is a facility that features the best in modern electronic music technology adapted and configured with assistive technology for the blind.

NALIS contracted the Torres Foundation to design, install, and maintain the studio. On July 27 after all the systems were installed Gordon Kent, lead technician on the project tested the equipment with a grand performance that we will not soon forget.

Following is a clip of the historic performance. The video is a bit dark, but it is really all about the music. Enjoy!

Click here to play the clip.
Category: General
Posted by: TorresMessenger
The CCD Camp workshops are currently being uploaded to YouTube. The first workshop to be uploaded is the Reggae Evolution Workshop conducted by Patrick Lafayette, Jamaican radio personality and Director of Twin Audio Networks. Click the following YouTube links to access the video clips.

Click to play Part 1.
Click to play Part 2.
Category: General
Posted by: TorresMessenger
The disabled in Trinidad and Tobago are not protected by enabling legislation. As a direct result our special rights, needs, and accommodations are left up to the whim and fancy of decision makers.

The Torres Foundation hereby would like to submit the following 5 legislative recommendations to correct this problem.

1. The Rights Enshrined paragraph of the constitution, Chapter 1 Part (I), needs to be modified to include the disabled. It currently says,

“It is hereby recognised and declared that in Trinidad and Tobago there have existed and shall continue to exist, without discrimination by reason of
race, origin, colour, religion or sex, the following fundamental human rights and freedoms…”

It should be modified to say…

“It is hereby recognised and declared that in Trinidad and Tobago there have existed and shall continue to exist, without discrimination by reason of
Disability, race, origin, colour, religion or sex, the following fundamental human rights and freedoms…”

This modification would be a small but very powerful and historic act that would immediately recognize and enfranchise tens of thousands of disabled citizens.

2. The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago should sign and ratify both the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Protocols to the Convention. This treaty will provide an international framework for developing national policies, regulations, and legislation for the differently able. The Protocol to the Convention provides individuals and organizations recourse to an international body of disability experts when all national options have been exhausted.

3. The Parliament needs to pass a Trinidad and Tobago Disabilities Act. The Act will provide a powerful legal mechanism for regulating inter alia education, employment, rehabilitation, transportation, as well as physical and electronic accessibility for persons with disabilities.

4. All Existing legislation must be carefully reviewed to make a determination as to whether they discriminate against persons with disabilities or impact the disabled in any negative way.

5. The various acts of law that govern Trinidad and Tobago should be modified to insure that the needs of the disabled are adequately recognized and accommodated. For example, the Customs Act should be amended to remove all taxes and duties for assistive technology products purchased by the disabled locally or imported into the country in the same way that computers are exempted. All the various acts that regulate telecommunications and information communication technology should include sections that regulate electronic accessibility for the differently able.

A commission made up of business, government and NGO stakeholders should be established in order to drive these various initiatives.