ONCE FOUNDATION FOR LATIN AMERICA (FOAL) (http://www.foal.es)
A global cooperation project. The implementation of the ONCE Foundation for Latin America (FOAL) has meant the beginning of a global project which is allowing to strengthen the associative movement of Latin American blind and partially sighted people. At the same time, FOAL helps creating jobs and improving the educational level of blind people in those countries.
Area of activities.
Countries in need of cooperation where ONCE can undertake actions are: Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela.
In order to bring a solution to the situation of extreme vulnerability faced by visually impaired adults, as 80% of them are without work and as they do not benefit from specific care and support in their respective countries, FOAL has implemented a Programme to improve employability based on employment training and support towards labour integration of visually impaired people, the "AGORA" Project (Occupational Management Offices in Latin America). Through this project, we have confirmed that 70% of the population that approaches the labour integration programme has had less than 9 years of formal education, the equivalent of six years of primary education and a few additional years of basic secondary education.
PLAN OF ACTION OF THE ONCE FOUNDATION FOR SOLIDARITY WITH BLIND PEOPLE IN LATIN AMERICA
This situation of extreme vulnerability gets even worse with the lack of resources for specific care at regional, national and local level, as well as the situation of extreme poverty and isolation in which this population has to live.
FOAL still considers very necessary the cooperation with other institutions and associations established in Latin America to reach the objectives set by the Foundation. FOAL’s economic margin of action is very limited if we compare it with the number of blind people susceptible to benefit from services related with visual impairment. For this reason, one of our main strategies to seek support to reach out objectives is to set joint work initiatives with other organizations, institutions, NGOs and companies with interest in Latin America.
FOAL dedicates its resources to support, lead and/or carry out actions designed in cooperation with different associations, entities and organizations of and/or for the blind in the nineteen Latin American countries where it carries out its activities.
Granting assistance, subsidies or technical support depends on the assessment of projects presented to FOAL. For additional information, please download the application form.
Furthermore, FOAL dedicates part of its technical resources to evaluate proposals of actions designed by other agents in some of the fields of action of their interest, becoming thus a mere co-financer of the presented projects. This would be the case for cross-disability projects where FOAL could cooperate exclusively in the part referring to the members of its community.
Occupational Management Offices in the Latin American Region
The Agora project involves the creation of a labour assessment service, in order to improve the employability of blind or partially sighted people. Agora covers areas that go from vocational guidance to employment training, labour integration or technological adaptation of the workstation.
The project is developed in thirteen countries: Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Ecuador, Peru, Nicaragua, Guatemala, El Salvador, Panama, Paraguay, Dominican Republic, Mexico and Colombia.
In the case of Agora projects in Paraguay, Peru, Nicaragua, Guatemala and Paraguay, the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) is offering co-financing, and in the case of Agora Colombia, we have the cooperation of the Madrid Autonomous Region.
Educational Resource Centres
Education is a basic objective of FOAL and, in this regard, work is carried out subsidiarily with Public Administrations, providing an important amount of technological and bibliographical resources, as well as basic and specific elements for the education of blind and partially sighted people.
Taking into account the importance given to securing an adequate level of educational quality for all Latin American blind students and the indispensable need to have basic materials such as text books, FOAL, jointly with the Spanish Ministry of Education and the Organization of Ibero-American States is planning the creation of book production centres in the Latin American countries where they do not exist yet, as well as the provision of new equipment for already existing printing houses so that they will work in the future as reference resource centres in their respective countries.
Since their creation, the objective of these centres is to be under the responsibility of the Directorate of Special Education in their own country and they are designed to produce Braille, embossed and recorded materials.