The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) is the leading UK charity organisation that supports the partially-sighted and blind. The charity provides practical and emotional support to help blind individuals have a better quality of life in the country.
Volunteers and eye specialists that help individuals qualified for care with qualitative and professional support aid the charity.
It was established in 16 October 1868, formerly known as the British and Foreign Blind Association for Improving the Embossed Literature of The Blind. It was focused on improving embossed reading materials for individuals without sight. In 1914, it became the National Institute for the Blind (NIB), and finally The Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB) in 1953 upon receiving its royal charter.
Dr. Armitage, Daniel Conolly, W.W. Fenn, and Dr. James Gale were blind and partially-sighted. They met at Cambridge Square London, which led to the formation of the British and Foreign Blind Association for Improving the Embossed Literature of the Blind. The founders focused on creating learning material for the blind to have reading materials and understand the world around them. It also allowed them to communicate better with each other, including the blinded in other regions of the United Kingdom.
The founders focused on improving Braille, the embossed literary format for the blind’s reading materials. Upon creating a stable system, they also improved Braille’s capability to register musical notation. In just a few years, the charity has published “Progress,” a magazine in full Braille.
Roles and Contributions
After creating and publishing the first Braille magazine, the Royal Institute of the Blind created the Arabic Braille code in 1889 and created the first dictionary for Braille in 1893. After three decades of doing so, the founders and their members had created the first home for blind children, the “Sunshine Home for Blind Babies.” It was first opened at Chorleywood, Hertfordshire and took care of blind children aged between six months and six years.
The charity’s ongoing “Talking Books” service was first introduced in 1935. In the same year, they also published their first “Big Print” newspaper. With the modernisation in the 90s onwards, the charity launched its first website in 1995 and created its helpline for the blind in 1997.
Helping Through Qualitative and Emotional Support
Today, apart from creating educational content for the blind through Braille, the RNIB also receives help from the Eye Clinic’s ophthalmologists, ophthalmic nurses, and early intervention staff and volunteers to provide practical professional help. Professionals also help the charity understand the emotional impact of sight loss diagnosis.
Volunteers also help in the charity’s endeavour by providing emotional support for patients through communication and limited domestic care. Some volunteer are also blind and partially-sighted, allowing them to empathise with blind and partially-sighted patients and give them the emotional support they need going through the initial impact of their sight loss diagnosis.
Support from Employment to Professional Healthcare
The RNIB employs qualified teachers of blind children and young people with visual impairment (QTVI). These teachers help children with blindness and partial-sightedness learn more about the world and have a chance at earning conventional employment in the United Kingdom.
Aside from providing education, the RNIB believes the blind should not be excluded from employment. It does this by working with employment partners who are delivering tailored solutions and tools that make the blind a vital part of conventional workforce.
The RNIB’s role to prepare the blind for employment includes pre and post-employment programmes. Pre-employment, the employers will receive a clear understanding of the blinded individual’s aspirations and abilities and the kinds of support and development they need to succeed. The blind also receives a structured pre-employment program supported by the charity and the employers.
How to Get Involved
Join Their Events
The RNIB hosts events such as treks across the UK’s high mountains and terrains. If you enjoy the wilderness and love a good walk, the 26-mile treks are definitely for you. The charity also hosts sporting events and even community bake and cook-offs as per project development of their members and volunteers.
Meanwhile, you can also join the RNIB mini-lotteries and win up to £1,000 weekly. Entries only cost £4 and you can subscribe the costs to your account to join monthly.
Become a Volunteer
To volunteer in the RNIB means getting involved in a responsibility that will help the blind reach their full potential. You can choose to work as a Learning and Development Team Member that supports the visually impaired through sight guiding, technology assistance, print-reading, document-formatting, and the occasional tea.
Young community ambassadors aged 18 up to 30 can create various activities for individuals in the same age range to create awareness about the RNIB’s endeavour. You can also be a Big Skills project volunteer to help the blind reach full confidence when it comes to improving their tech skills and find employment in the conventional market.
Make a One-Off Donation
You can also choose to make a single or recurring donation to the RNIB. You can donate from £5 to £50 to help the blind have more call receivers and supporters from its Helpline to training sight loss advisers to help those diagnosed with sight loss.
If you’re feeling truly compelled to support the blind, then you can leave a gift to the blind in your will, donate in memory of your loved ones to raise the confidence of the blind, or participate in the lotteries mentioned earlier.
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