Union of the blind concerned with new Malawi bank notes

The new bank notes which were recently released by the Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) and are in circulation in the country,  have on features favourable  to  people with visual impairment to help them identify the money.

The chairperson of Ntchisi Union of the blind, Giviel Kanyemba, said most of the people with visual impairment have met problems with the money which he said was going to affect their lives as they will lose a lot of money during transactions.

Kanyemba said the thickness of the new notes was almost the same in terms of that of the new K 20 and K1, 000; which makes the blind fail to differentiate them.

“The changing to the new notes did not consider us, the visually impaired people. There is no feature to help us identify the quantity of the new moneys. We, the visually impaired people, identify money by feeling its thickness but this money has same thickness,” Kanyemba said .

He said most visually impaired people will be affected especially when they are required to transact change on their money.

“The money is not used only by good sighted people; we wish we were also considered so that we identify the money as we used to do with the old notes. There is no feature that is protruding enough to be felt by our fingers,” said the chairman.

Reserve Bank manager, Charles Msosa said the Central Bank had engaged private companies to civic educate people including those who are visually impaired on several features that are on the new notes.

“For those who are visually impaired we plan to meet Union of the Blind mother body so that we can organize the schedule properly.There are features special for the blind, you can check the boxes down the right corner of each note,” said Msosa.

But when the new notes were presented to the group of the visually impaired individually, nobody managed to tell how many boxes were on each note.

“I feel something but it is not telling how many boxes are there. I think if they protruded from the face a bit we could manage to count them,” said Kanyemba.

The chairperson said the visually impaired people will bear with problems that they would face due to the introduction of newly introduced money, but emphasised that the responsible authorities should look into their comment especially that they “should be consulted”.

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