Senior citizens and those with poor vision now have more reading material to choose from, thanks to Tua Yai, a free magazine printed in large font.
Students team up with Fuji Xerox to launch Tua Yai , a free big-print magazine for the visually impaired.
Tua Yai is the brainchild of a group of Communication Arts students at Dhurakij Pundit University (DPU) who were runners-up in TK Park's "Knowledge No Limit!" contest in 2011.
All the award would have been a recognition for a smart idea unless the concept was translated into action.
Fuji Xerox (Thailand), however, matched the creative idea with the company's corporate social responsibility (CSR) programme.
Fuji Xerox introduced a big font edition of The Happiness Of Kati, with the support of author Ngarmpun Vejjajiva and Amarin Printing and Publishing in 2011.
The Big Font project mainly aims to promote reading among people with poor vision by providing special reading material in an appropriate format for the visually-impaired, according to Rangsan Naratchariyangkul, country manager of the Printer Division of Fuji Xerox (Thailand). He said that the venture was inspired by a creative project introduced by Fuji Xerox Japan, which printed a special large-font textbook for students with vision problems.
"When we found out that a group of Dhurakij Pundit students were working on their Tua Yai project, which coincidentally matched our initiative, we approached them during the second phase of the Big Font project and fine-tuned the idea to better fit with the targeted audience," he said.
The elderly and people with presbyopia _ a condition in which the lens of the eye loses its ability to focus, making it difficult to see objects up close _ can read if they wear spectacles, but so far there was no solution for those with low vision.
Tua Yai magazine, however, allows them to enjoy reading.
Natthapong Supanpiw, the team head, explained that Tua Yai won the 2nd runners-up prize in the social enterprise contest held by TK Park in 2011.
"We found that the number of old people is increasing and most of them have problems with their eyesight that caused them to read less, so we devised Tua Yai, the big characters, for them," he said.
It was just a concept proposal, said team member Inthat Rasameesawang, but when they were approached by Fuji Xerox, they initially did not think the company would take it seriously.
"But it was a very good opportunity for us to experience working while we are students. We worked as an editorial team, going out to get information, discussing the content that we would present," said Inthat.
Inthat acknowledged that he didn't take studying seriously before and was frequently absent from class, but that working on the project encouraged him to pay more attention to his studies. The project has turned a lazy student into one who will soon graduate with honours.
Sompol and Inthat, who are both fourth year students, head the editorial team which is comprised of third and second year students. And they will pursue the job of editing Tua Yai, which has been planned for the whole of this year.
The free quarterly magazine, which is a continuation of Fuji's Big Font project, offers up-to-date and interesting information, with the student team responsible for both the content and the layout, while the publishing is handled by Fuji. The first 3,000 copies of Tua Yai will be given to the Low Vision Association of Thailand.
The magazine contains interesting features covering travel, food and health. The first edition focuses on attractive destinations for the elderly, places where senior citizens can travel in comfort. For the second edition, which is due out in the second quarter of the year, the editorial team plans to focus on healthy eating.
Thawatchai Lalitsuradej, president of the Low Vision Association of Thailand, said that although visually-impaired people face obstacles in terms of what they can see, that didn't mean that they don't want to have access to information.
Previously, The Happiness Of Kati created much joy for the visually impaired and provided them with the knowledge that society understands their needs and supports their limitations in reading, which is very encouraging for them.
In Thailand, there are about 3.6 million people with a disability, and 500,000 of them are people with low vision.
"If we can help this group of people to be able to read more comfortably, it will be a great merit," said Warakorn Samkoset, DPU's president, adding that education at present emphasises teaching less and learning more.
Dhurakij Pundit is now turning into a truly progressive university and Tua Yai magazine is an example of the students' creative efforts.
_ Sasiwimon Boonruang