Fivemiletown schoolgirl benefits from braille book produced by Maghaberry prisoners

Prisoners from Maghaberry have produced 100 books in Braille to help a schoolgirl with her classroom studies.

Eight-year-old Eryn Kirkpatrick was born with the rare condition Septo-optic dysplasia which has left her completely blind and also affects her growth.

But with the support of Maghaberry Prison's Braille unit, the plucky youngster is enjoying lessons at Fivemiletown Primary School like any other child of her age.

The prisoners have now produced 100 books in Braille to assist little Eryn with her schoolwork, including reading books, maths and English text and exercise books.

Eryn's mum Evanna said: "I am delighted with the progress that Eryn has made at school and the availability of a range of books from the Braille unit, including books for over the summer holidays. The books have meant that Eryn has had access to a great range of well-presented Braille reading material."

Darren Otley, who runs the prison unit, said: "When I learned about Eryn I just knew I had to support her. Straight away the men in the Braille unit set to work and over the past two years we have supplied all of the books Eryn has required.

"For the men it's about giving something back to the community. They are all passionate about the work they are doing and especially knowing that they are able to help a young child. We are just delighted to have been able to help little Eryn."

Fivemiletown Primary School principal, Melanie Houston, welcomed the support of the Braille unit.

"The quality and range of books provided by Maghaberry Prison's Braille unit has added a breadth of reading material for Eryn which span the areas of learning and which otherwise would not have been available."

Ulster Unionist Councillor Meta Graham said: “This is a very brave young child who despite her condition is keen to learn and the availability of Braille books, including reading books, maths and English text books and this has meant that it has added to her education and learning which otherwise would not have been available.

“This is a very vital service and the prisoners are to be congratulated in giving something back to the community.

“I compliment the Principal and staff of Fivemiletown Primary School in bringing this service to the school and also help Eryn in her future development and wish her and her family well in the future.”

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