In 1993, the lack of social integration and basic services suffered by the visually impaired, led a group of people to fund the Catalan Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (ACCDV) in order to offer services to the collective, make their problems known, and, in this manner, improve their quality of life and social integration.
This project came to fruition on February 17th, 1994, when the Catalan Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (ACCDV) was recorded in the Direcció General de Dret i d’Entitats Jurídiques del Departament de Justícia de la Generalitat de Catalunya Register with the number 14,965.
The ACCDV started very modestly, located in a private apartment and exclusively offering Socio-cultural animation activities with the support of a few volunteers. Thanks to them, the Association was able to increase its areas of work to our three standard ones: Personal Services, Cultural Services and Social Services.
In 1996, the Association moved to a small office and signed an agreement with the Dirección General de Objeción de Conciencia del Ministerio de Justicia to include conscientious objectors in its activities. The high number of volunteers and objectors involved made it necessary to create specific courses to formalize the training they received.
The following year, the Ministeri de l’Interior recognized the Association's task and declared it of Public Utility on December 29th. The year after, the Institut Català del Voluntariat of the Generalitat de Catalunya received competency over conscientious objection and reaffirmed its collaboration with the ACCDV, assigning a substantial number of objectors to its activities, with the parallel increase in services offered by the Association. That same year, the ACCDV started to promote scientific research oriented to the solution of visual problems and raising awareness in the population in general on the necessity of this research.
In 1999, the Social Studies Classroom (Aula d’Estudis Socials - AES) was created to design and teach training courses to the Association's volunteers, to make these courses known and available to society in general, and to create new ones.
In 2006, helped by a significant financial donation offered by La Caixa and the Pfizer Fundation, the ACCDV became a mid-sized entity, improving and increasing its services with the incorporation of many professionals, offering more adapted computer classes, a new psychological area, new courses and workshops on braille and new technologies, raising awareness in children, introduction to disabilities, barriers and guide dogs.
There are currently in Catalonia 10,000 blind people and 200,000 with low vision. These people have numerous problems due to their disability which vary according to the moment they were affected. It is not the same someone who is born blind, someone who becomes blind in adulthood or someone with low vision.
The ACCDV's goal is to offer services to blind and visually impaired people in order to improve their quality of life and accomplish a better integration of the collective.
These are the most important and closest to the person, who is treated on an individual basis, according to his or her particular needs. They cover four concrete areas:
With these services, the ACCDV tries to bring culture closer to visually impaired people. They cover four areas:
These are the most general and are aimed to society in its totality. They cover five areas:
An increasing awareness of the physical and social barriers a severely visually impaired person must overcome, their personal experience, new scientific and therapeutic discoveries about vision, and the technological improvements that make communication between the visually handicapped person and society possible can all be the basis for a better world.
The Catalan Association for the Blind and the Visually Handicapped (ACCDV) understands it must propagate its objectives by creating its own means of communication where plurality of thought and the characteristics of our collective can have a platform of expression.
Trimestral Bulletin: With this publication, the Association's members are informed about all the activities the ACCDV offers. Socio-cultural animation activities occupy an important space. The Bulletin also informs about: Audio book and sono-cinema projects, meetings between ACCDV and Catalan institutions which work for the welfare of visually impaired people; actions developed to promote the rights of our collective; and activities developed by the commissions and the dates of their work meetings.
The Eye Magazine: This is ACCDV's most ambitious communication project, by means of which, it creates awareness of the problems a society based on 'normality' presents to visually handicapped people and propagate their ideas and opinions. The Eye Magazine is intended for the Association's members, visually impaired people, professionals and the public in general.
Audio books: Reading Braille can be difficult for many people who have partially or totally lost their sight. The most convenient system in these cases is the Audio book, which is the recording of a literary work on a four track tape, a Daisy format CD or an Mp3 file.
Annual report of the situation of visually impaired people in Catalonia: This ACCDV report is intended to inform the general public about the current situation in terms of access of visually handicapped people to culture, work, new technologies, attention, etc.
Annual Memory: The edition of the Annual Memory gives account of all the activities promoted and developed by the Association in society in general, towards which it directs its services and from which it receives the necessary help to develop its assumed task. In every area, the Association's achievements and future expectations of the services offered are stated.