Robert B. Irwin: I've prepared a report on the work of the American Foundation for Overseas Blind during
1947, and I've asked our old friend Mr. Scourby to read this to you.
Alexander Scourby: Thank you Dr. Irwin.
It's difficult for us, living in a country which experienced practically no physical damage from combat activities, to
realize what war has done to the blind people, and to agencies for the blind in Europe. Where active fighting was carried
on, many schools for the blind were completely demolished. In other cases the buildings were damaged by gunfire. Braille
slates and other metal were confiscated to make munitions. Braille books were used for fuel. A number of the workshops for
the blind were so badly damaged that nothing remains but unheated cellars with temporary roofs in which sightless workmen are
trying to earn a little toward their support. In several countries the braille printing plants were so completely demolished
that there's not a vestige of the old machinery in existence. An outside observer visiting Europe is impressed with the
leadership assumed by blind people in furthering the welfare of their fellows. These people are pleading with Americans for
help in getting their organizations going again. The role being played by the American Foundation for Overseas Blind is that
of supplying technical equipment and raw materials peculiar to such agencies for the blind as schools, workshops and braille
printing plants; fellowships to workers for the blind wishing to prepare themselves better for the difficult task of
reconstructing the services wrecked by the war; and, in some cases, food and clothing is supplied to blind people who have
been overlooked by relief-giving agencies. The work of the American Foundation for Overseas Blind is not duplicated by
existing or contemplated programs of any other agency.