The BBC World Service Trust’s In Touch for China project has successfully negotiated some recent formidable organization and infrastructural obstacles in moving beyond its early successful pilot stage. Thanks to a great volunteer effort by its original design group – a dedicated and talented group of disabled people in China - the project will launch its journalist training for blind and visually impaired journalists in September 2006.
The training will be funded by the UK Big Lottery Fund as will the broadcasting of ‘In Touch for China’ radio programs, which will begin again in October. The lottery funds will also allow for the establishment and running of the vital Mobile Advisory Clinic, through which Freeplay Lifeline self-powered radios will be distributed to rural listening groups and training provided in their use.
BBC WST’s China Country Director, Stephen Hallett, paid testimony both to the vision and tenacity of the original design group of people for ‘In Touch for China’, themselves disabled. The group has completed its recent restructuring into a cohesive and stable unit, and is poised to undertake training next month.
Stephen promises us more progress reports when the training is complete and October broadcasts begin.
In the meantime, we hope that during the latter half of 2006, Global Giving donors will enable the Freeplay Foundation to supply 500 self-powered Lifeline radios that can bring vital radio information and advice via ‘In Touch for China’ within reach of some of the most marginalized people on the planet.