This contest is for people who are blind or vision impaired living in the Asia Pacific region. The Project is sponsored by the Onkyo Corporation Ltd. and The Braille Mainichi Newspaper in Japan, in collaboration with the World Blind Union-Asia Pacific WBUAP.

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, the Australian Braille Authority, the Round Table on Information Access for People with Print Disabilities, and Vision Australia.

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 BC News.

This is an annual project 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:

  • The Positive Experiences and Opportunities That Can Come from Being Blind.
  • The Importance and Creative Uses of Braille in My Life.
  • The Opportunities, Joy and Development That Music Brings to My Life.

Closing date is 15 May 2016. Winners will be notified in November 2016.

Essays must be between 700 and 1,000 words and presented in hard copy Braille or in computerized Braille, provided 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, 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 May 15 2016 at:

Attention: Kate Morris

Or mail

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

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.

Welcome to BCA, the national organisation of people who are blind or vision impaired.

Contact BCA:

Toll Free:
1800 033 660

(03) 9654 1400

Email: Blind Citizens Australia

Donate to Blind Citizens Australia by using the PayPal button below

Braille Music Camp 2016

A Camp for Braille readers who love music and want to learn, improve, transcribe or teach Braille music.

The 31st Camp will be held at Frensham, Range Road, Mittagong NSW 2575
From Saturday evening 25th June to breakfast Saturday 2nd July 2016

An Application form can be downloaded here: 2016 braille camp application form

For further details Contact:
Roma Dix,
11 Bourne Close
Mittagong NSW 2575
P: 02 48 711 086
M: 0432 466 882
E: romad@westnet.com.au

BCA media release: we’ll be able to read our bills but can we pay them?

For Immediate Release.

Budget 2016: We’ll be able to read our bills but can we pay them?

Blind Citizens Australia (BCA) today welcomes the federal government budget focus on aged care supports and a commitment to ensuring funding for the NDIS, but says reviews of DSP for 90,000 and cuts to power subsidies for new pensioners are of major concern.

“It’s great that the government has invested in the NDIS Savings Fund Special Account, and the My Aged Care consumer portal,” said BCA CEO Leah van Poppel.

“We’re concerned that 90,000 people may be taken off Disability Support Pension without a safety net or a jobs plan. We could see people getting the right equipment under NDIS to read their bills but if they come off DSP they won’t be able to pay them.”

“It’s also great that the government has recognized what our members are telling us: that information on My Aged Care is truly limited for consumers. We hope that the extra money will include work to make information available to people with disability about their access to My Aged Care in the formats they choose, like Braille or radio.”

We also welcome:

  • $96.1m for Try, Test and Learn program for innovative approaches to those at risk of long term welfare dependency;
  • $118m funding for students with disabilities

What’s missing:

  • funding for national representation by disability specific disabled person’s organisations;
  • A rights based approach for audio description on broadcast television;
  • Funding to ensure no copayment for disability specific supports in My Aged Care.

Media contact:
Leah van Poppel CEO:
Tel: 0430 210 980

SoundAbout May 2016 Now Available

The May edition of SoundAbout is now available. You can use the audio player above to listen or download. Alternativly, for your convenience, you can use the links below. The first is with the words “listen to SoundAbout May 2016” for immediate listening. The other is with the word “download to SoundAbout May 2016” for placing on a device for listening at a later date.

Contents of this edition include:

  • Steve Richardson speaks with Emma Bennison, President regarding the recent SA Forum
  • Rikki Chaplin speaks with Leah Van Poppel, CEO about Audio Description
  • Marian Jones speaks with Lori Grovenor, consumer, about her experiences with My Aged Care
  • Peter Greco speaks with Lauren Henley about her involvement with My Aged Care
  • Peter Greco speaks with Karen Knight from Vision Australia from a service providers point of view on My Aged Care
  • Marian Jones speaks with Bernadette Packer, the new Womens Branch representative on the Soundabout Committee
  • Steve Richardson speaks with Ramona Mandy about the new Braillenote Touch
  • Steve Richardson speaks with Barry Brown about his experience with telephone voting at the recent Queensland elections
  • Notice about the newly released New Horizons theme song
  • Diary Dates for WA, NSW and ACT
  • Branch contact details
  • BCA contact details

Listen to SoundAbout May 2016


Download SoundAbout May 2016

Please note that Soundabout is also available as a podcast which you can subscribe to. You can do this in a couple of ways:

  • If you are a Vision Australia library client, make enquiries with them, call 1300 847 466
  • Using your podcatcher use the URL http://wordpress.bca.org.au/feed/ to manually search.

New Horizons Program 449

This week on program 449 of New Horizons, we hear from Leah van Poppel, CEO of Blind Citizens Australia, about What BCA believes are the big issues facing us at the 2016 federal election, the NDIS, My Aged Care and other issues.

You can use the embedded audio player above to listen or download the program.

New Horizons is available as a podcast! To manually subscribe, using your pod catcher of choice, place the following URL http://wordpress.bca.org.au/feed/ in the appropriate field to subscribe to the New Horizons program.

If you are a Vision Australia I-Access Library member, you can subscribe to New Horizons using the I-Access on line catalogue. Use the find facility within the on line catalogue with the search term “New Horizons” and you will be presented with current and past programs of New Horizons, from there you can subscribe to the podcast.

New Horizons is Blind Citizens Australia’s weekly radio program. It can be heard on RPH and community radio stations throughout Australia. Go here for Broadcast times and stations

Current and past Episodes of New Horizons can also be found on the Blind Citizens Australia audio page

And on the The Global Voice

ABC Iview Audio Described Programs – May 2016

Please find below a list of Audio Described programs that will become available on iview in May 2016. As always, programs are subject to schedule changes however this is what is currently planned.

The ABC Comedy Showroom selection are all available on Iview now with Audio Description.

  • Agatha Christie: Poirot
  • Australian Story
  • Broad City
  • David Attenborough: Kingdom Of Plants
  • DCI Banks
  • Doctor Who
  • Episodes
  • Father Brown
  • Foreign Correspondent
  • Grantchester
  • Hiding
  • Janet King
  • Making Australia Great
  • Midsomer Murders
  • Rake
  • Scott And Bailey
  • Silent Witness
  • The Indian Dream Hotel
  • The Murder Detectives
  • The Politician’s Husband
  • Tiny Tots Talent Agency
  • Whitechapel
  • Louis Theroux: Louis And The Brothel
  • Louis Theroux: Extreme Love -Autism
  • Dance Academy
  • Degrassi: Next Class
  • Octonauts
  • Olivia
  • Nowhere Boys
  • Peter Rabbit
  • So Awkward
  • Tomorrow When The War Began

You might find the instructional clip with information on how to access AD on iview useful. It can be found here: ABC Iview instructional Youtube clip

An FAQ document on the AD trial can be found here: AD Iview FAQ(Word docx)

To provide your feedbac during the trial, or for any other information pleas visit the ABC’s AD website