A first glance at Wonderson Banda will explain his blindness. Next to follow in your mind would be that Wonderson is isolated man in society. But once you spare time charting with him you will get to know who he is.

Born blind, Banda comes from Livilivi village in Balaka district in the Southern Region of Malawi.

“I grew up in a terrible life being blind. I was not counted in the society until the day I met Torch.  Torch has guided and assisted the positive change of my mindset. I am now a Church Elder I preach the word of God to both born normal and physical challenged people”.

Banda who is chairing Torch’s established Livilivi Fellowship Group where over 20 blind people meets to discuss the word of God said he has benefited a lot in both spiritual and physical life because he is able to read from braille products printed by the Torch House Centre in Blantyre.

Torch, a Faith Based Trust produces Christian readings in braille, giant print, audio and electronic media. It also publishes magazines, produces Bibles, hymn books, Scripture text calendars, books and booklets, and operates a large free postal library of Christian books in accessible media and brings encouragement.

Speaking in an interview during a daylong Torch’s Fellowship Groups leader’s seminar conducted at Torch’s House Centre in Blantyre, the Centre’s chairlady Rose Chaponda said People who are blind or partially sighted often find themselves isolated and excluded from many of the social things that sighted people take for granted. Even in church they may feel left out and find their needs are not adequately addressed. Without sight they cannot read the church news and find it difficult to seek out friends and make new friendships.

“Torch is here to remove isolation between the blind and sighted people by teaching them word of God. We give  free braille bibles, hymn, magazines among others to the blind.  We believe in empowering the blind to participate in community development, hence today we have organized Fellowship Group leaders seminar where they will be able to learn components about leadership, communication and church participation”. Said Chaponda.

In Malawi Torch House Center was established in 1992 and has since distributed braille materials to the blind in all regions of the country.

Torch Trust’s Administrator; Stanley Moyo, said they intend to reach out the blind with the support at National level  and neighboring countries.

“Torch House Centre in Blantyre has the capacity to produce free braille bibles, hymn books and other manuals in various languages to all regions in the country but we are lacking support to transport materials to various places.

“We want to assure fellow Malawians that Torch Trust’s mission is to assist the blind with braille bibles and hymn books so that they can participate in the church and live in hope” Moyo said.

He said Torch needs everyone’s prayer for its smooth operations and also partnering with other organizations, Institutions and churches by identifying the blind people in the fields of their work and get free braille materials for them from Torch House Centre in Blantyre.

Moyo also said that Blantyre Torch House Centre is failing to export braille bibles and hymn books to neighboring countries like Zimbabwe, Nigeria and Zambia because of lack of exporting costs.

“Previously, we used to send braille bibles and hymn books to Zambia, Zimbabwe and Nigeria but after the ban of ordinary posting courier the Torch House is failing to meet air travel exporting costs” He added.

Torch House have about 92 Torch Fellowship Groups throughout the country and key voluntary workers mainly in the valley of the River Shire, in the extreme South, where the incidence of blindness is at its worst, due to the widespread eye disease known as River Blindness (Onchocerciasis).

Blantyre Torch Centre has braille production unit, mainly producing Scripture volumes in local languages but also in other African languages. So far the languages involved are Chichewa, Sena, Shona, Bemba, Igala and Hausa. Christian booklets and tracts are also produced, mainly in English and Chichewa, and these include some specifically to help those suffering from HIV/AIDS.


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