Welcome To Blind Citizens Australia

 

Blind Citizens Australia (BCA) is the united voice of Australians who are blind or vision impaired.

Our mission is to achieve equity and equality by our empowerment, by promoting positive community attitudes, and by striving for high quality and accessible services which meet our needs.

Whether you are blind, have a vision impairment , a family member or friend of a person who is blind or vision impaired, BCA is here to assist you.

We provide information, peer support, individual and systemic advocacy, and consultancy services. Our Branches act as local lobby groups and provide opportunities for social interaction for members.

Explore our site. Learn about us. Listen to SoundAbout for profiles of people who are blind or vision impaired and those working with our community. If you are interested in audio-described TV, cinema and DVD content check out It’s Our Turn. Set your dial and tune in to our weekly radio program New Horizons. For the issues and policies that affect you, plus useful information and tips, turn to the pages of BC News or Parent News.

Contact BCA:

Toll Free:
1800 033 660

Phone:
03 9654 1400

Text:
0488 824 623

Email: Blind Citizens Australia

Donate to Blind Citizens Australia by using the PayPal “Donate” button below (you can donate via PayPal without setting up a PayPal account).




New Horizons Podcast

New Horizons is Blind Citizens Australia’s weekly radio show. It is an interview style, with topics relevant to people who are blind or vision impaired. It runs for about 15 minutes, in MP3 format. To listen, you can use the audio player below.

From January 2018, New Horizons and other BCA audio files are available from a new podcast feed ! You can subscribe to the Blind Citizens Australia podcast feed by pointing your Pod-Catcher to: http://blindcitizens.podbean.com/feed

To visit the Blind Citizens Australia podbean page, go to: http://blindcitizens.podbean.com

Calling Braille Writers – 2019 Onkyo World Essay Contest Now Open

The World Blind Union Asia Pacific Onkyo Braille Essay competition is now open for entries, closing 15 June 2019. If you or someone you know is a writer who uses braille, please read the information below and share with your networks. We look forward to receiving your entries by 15 June. Should you have any questions, please contact Samantha Marsh on 1800 033 660.

About the Contest:

The Onkyo World Braille Essay Contest is a worldwide initiative planned and sponsored by Onkyo Corporation Ltd. and the Braille Mainichi in Japan, and is implemented by the World Blind Union-Asia Pacific (WBUAP). It is administered locally by the Australian National Onkyo Selection Committee for the World Braille Essay Contest. The Committee comprises representatives from Blind Citizens Australia and other blindness agencies and organisations whose focus is on information access and braille.

The purpose of the contest is to promote Braille literacy and encourage the reading and writing of Braille; and to encourage cultural and social interaction among blind and vision impaired persons through their writings. The top 5 entries will be sent to the WBUAP Onkyo Selection Committee for final consideration, and any winning Australian entries will be published in Blind Citizens News.

This is an annual competition, with cash prizes awarded to the best seven entries received from within the WBU Asia Pacific Region. The main prize, “the Otsuki Prize” is $US 1000. Other prizes are for “Excellent Works” ($US 500) and “Fine Works” (either $US 300 or $US 200) depending on the age group. Participation in the contest is open to people from 14 years of age, living in the World Blind Union-Asia Pacific Region. Entries are divided into two age groups: persons between the ages of 14 and 25 years; and persons from the age of 26 years upwards.

Essay topics:

  1. Having Overcome the Challenges of Blindness, How I Can or Have Contributed to Society.
  2. The Significance of Braille in the IT Era and in my daily life.
  3. The people or organisations which have helped me on my journey to success.
  4. How Music Has Shaped My Life and Changed the Attitude of Society Towards Blindness.

Closing date is 15 june 2019. Winners will be notified in November 2019.

Essays must be between 700 and 1,000 words and presented in hard copy Braille or in computerized Braille if you can provide proof of your Braille literacy. This can be in the form of a letter from your Braille instructor, teacher or other professional who can vouch for your skills.

When submitting your essay to BCA, you must also provide an electronic photo of yourself, a cover letter stating your full name, address, and contact details, your date of birth and your status ie. student, home maker, worker. If a student state what school you are from including the name, address and email contact for your school

Please submit entries to BCA by June 15 2019 at:
Attention: Samantha Marsh
Samantha.marsh@bca.org.au

Blind Citizens Australia
Ross House
Level 3, 247-251 Flinders Lane
Melbourne VIC 3000

Best of luck!

South Australia: Accessing the Support You Need – Workshops on the NDIS and My Aged Care

Are you interested in learning more about accessing support through the NDIS or My Aged Care?
Regardless of whether you’re still looking at joining one of the schemes or whether you’re already receiving support, if you have questions that you’d like to discuss we’d love for you to come along and join us.

The workshops will cover topics such as:
• Becoming a participant of the NDIS or My Aged Care
• The planning process
• Receiving support
• Assistive Technology
• Accessing information in alternate formats
• There will also be plenty of time to ask questions

We will be running one session on the NDIS and one on My Aged Care concurrently to ensure the information is tailored to your needs.
These workshops are part of the Information, Linkages and Capacity Building work that BCA is undertaking in South Australia, which have previously been offered in New South Wales, Victoria and by teleconference (we have received great feedback from people who have participated). As Blind Citizens Australia is not registered to provide services under the NDIS or My Aged Care we are in a unique position to provide you with information that will enable you to make decisions about how and where you receive the support that best meets your needs.

Location: Royal Society for the Blind, 230 Pirie Street, Adelaide, South Australia 5000

Times:
Friday, 12th April 2019 1:00pm – 4:00pm
Saturday, 13th April 2019 9:30am – 12:30pm

Presenters:
Angela Jaeschke, National Policy and Advocacy Manager, Blind Citizens Australia
Sally Aurisch, NSW / ACT Coordinator, Blind Citizens Australia

For further information or to register, please contact Jennifer Parry on 1800 033 660 or jennifer.parry@bca.org.au with the date of the workshop you would like to attend and whether you are interested in the NDIS or My Aged Care.

Livestream the BCA National Convention this weekend

For those who are not able to make it to our national convention in Hobart this weekend, you will be able to stream most of the sessions live online.

The livestream will be available on Saturday 30 and Sunday 31 March. Download the convention program, choose your preferred streaming platform from the list of links below, and listen along to the sessions. You can also interact via SMS with questions and comments by texting 0488 824 623 throughout the live stream. 

Enchanted Hills Camp is Back!

Have you ever thought about working at an American Summer Camp? Here’s your chance! From mid-June to late-July you could be working as a volunteer Camp Counsellor at The Enchanted Hills Camp in Napa, California, America.

Enchanted Hills Camp is located on Mt Veeder, just outside of Napa, California and provides a dedicated program of camps for people who are blind or vision impaired across the American summer. Each week a new bus load of campers arrives at the camp to enjoy a week of outdoor recreational activities, sport, art, drama, music, swimming and fun.

As a camp counsellor, your role is to work with your assigned campers to ensure they get the most out of their time at camp. This includes encouraging campers to participate in their chosen activities, assisting campers to prepare for the day and encouraging a fun environment. If you have a particular skill or interest, you may also be called upon to lead or assist in the leading of various activities.

Blind Citizens Australia recognises the great opportunities that an experience like this can provide and would like to support 4 residents from New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory by reimbursing them up to $1,000.00AUD for the cost of flights to and from San Francisco International Airport.

To be eligible to take part in this opportunity you must:

  • Be over the age of 18 on the date of travel
  • Have a valid passport and be eligible to travel to the United States
  • Be a member of Blind Citizens Australia (if you’re not already, you can do this by calling 1800 033 660 or visiting www.bca.org.au)
  • Be able to arrange travel to Sydney International Airport on the day of departure.
  • Be willing to participate in Blind Citizens Australia activities that relate to the creation of a similar camp style program in Australia.

To apply, please send an expression of interest to Sally Aurisch, NSW / ACT Coordinator at sally.aurisch@bca.org.au by 2nd April 2019.

Your expression of Interest must include:

  • Your full name, date of birth, contact number and email address
  • Whether you have (or are able to obtain) a valid passport
  • An explanation of why you would like to volunteer as a Camp Counsellor at Enchanted Hills Camp (250 works)
  • Some ideas about what you could bring to the camp as a camp counsellor; what are you passionate about? What do you love to do? (100 words)
  • Some thoughts on how volunteering as a Camp Counsellor may benefit you in the future (150 words)
  • Confirmation that you will be able to meet the additional travel costs not covered by the reimbursement of $1,000.00AUD. This could include:
    • Passport
    • ESTA (the US equivalent of a Visa), aprox $20AUD
    • Travel insurance
    • Travel to / from Sydney International Airport
    • Any additional cost for return flights to San Francisco if the cost of the flight exceeds $1,000.00
    • Coach transfers from San Francisco airport to Napa, California (Aprox $60AUD return)
    • Incidental expenses while at camp

If you have any questions or would like additional information, please contact Sally Aurisch, NSW / ACT Coordinator on 1800 033 660 or sally.aurisch@bca.org.au

If you’d like to know more about The Enchanted Hills Camp, check out www.lighthouse-sf.org/enchanted-hills

Applications close at 5:00pm on Tuesday, 2nd April 2019

Register for BCA’s 2019 National Convention

We are now accepting registrations for our 2019 National Convention!

This year the event will be held in Hobart, Tasmania, at the Old Woolstore hotel, from 29 March to 1 April.

To register, or for comprehensive details about the program, award nominations, arrangements for first time attendees, and much more, visit our convention page.