Priit Kasepalu

Priit has been a member of the North Estonian Blind Association since 1974. He is completely blind, but he nevertheless manages to be active alongside work. He has dedicated his leisure and energy to people with visual impairments. He wants them to be noticed and treated equally in society. 

Priit, is a boy from Tallinn, born in 1957. In early childhood, he was diagnosed with a congenital cataract. He has had an operation just a year old. As a result, he saw with one eye satisfactorily, much worse with another one. He studied in an ordinary school and did well there. For the secondary school would have gone to Tartu, but no secondary school class was opened at the Emajõgi school that year. Thus, Priit also passed high school in Tallinn in a regular school. After graduating from high school, he studied industrial engineering at Tallinn Polytechnic Institute. Not to mention that he graduated from it with honors in 1980! At that time, he could only read with one eye. After graduation, he was assigned to the position of Assistant Chief Engineer at the Estonian Blind Association's Training-Production Combination. He could only work for a few years, and then his vision deteriorated.  "> "> Down to the point where he had to give up work and retire on an invalidity pension. But only for a few years.

Driven by a desire to do something good Priit developed a library for the visually impaired. As a basis he used former sound studio. From 1994 to 2003, he was the director of foundations that produced and borrowed books for the visually impaired. In 2004, the Estonian Blind Library was established. Priit was the director of this library until 2010 and is still the information manager there. We can say that the Estonian Library for the Blind is a great life work of Priit Kasepalu. Nevertheless it has developed tremendously compared to the early years and has attracted a large number of readers. Priit recalls that in the early years books were stored on large magnetic tape reels, then cassettes and later CDs. For now lending-reading is largely available online.

Another important work on behalf of the library was the overhaul of the library in the premises of Tondi Blinds Association building. Repairs were carried out between 1994 and 1998. Remodeling of the premises of the old production building into the library was a large and costly. The preparatory work was carried out on his own. Fortunately Priit's father was ready to help his son out. The library operates in two spots: on the streets Suur-Sõjamäe and Tondi.

Journalism is close to Priit's heart: he has produced 220 issues of the audio magazine Epiphon. It covers the lives and activities of people with visual impairments. He also brightens for public the services of the library. Overall he has published about 200 articles in Estonian and foreign press.

In addition to his work, he still has will and energy to be active in society and engage in exciting hobbies. He contributes to the North Estonian Blind Association and the Estonian Blind Union. This includes: the participation in international projects, the organization of conferences for visually impaired readers; being a member in the Braille Contest Jury;  stamps collection, dealing with arts.

Priit is one of the importers of International White Stick Day. Since 1987, White Stick Day has been celebrated on 15 October each year. It is a day to introduce visually impaired people to other society members. Incidentally, Priit also uses a white cane. The guide dog doesn't want it, says he can easily feed the dog, so it's best not to try it.

Priit was one of those who prepared the Braille text of the Declaration of Independence. It was further placed on the commemorative monument opened in Pärnu in 2008.

He is also a Descriptive Translation Consultant. In 2013, he underwent training in Descriptive Translation Consultants at the Viljandi Culture Academy of the University of Tartu. He has been a Descriptive Translation Consultant for one film and two theater productions.

His stamp collection "The Unseen World", reflecting the lives of visually impaired people. It was awarded a silver medal at the international philatelic exhibition "Estonia 2010". This stamp collection has been on long-term exhibitions in Helsinki, Põlva, Pärnu, Haapsalu and Jüri.

Priit has also a close relationship with art. He has made a number of talc stone sculptures, such as "Thinkers", featuring a chicken, a rabbit, a snail shell, a fungus and more. Talc or soapstone is a soft, easy-to-ripen material imported from Austria. The sculpture “Thinkers” was exhibited at the 2013 Art Festival for the Visually Impaired in Italy. He also likes to paint with his fingers.

How has Priit done so much for the visually impaired? He says it feels good to do something good for others. He says that there would always be difficulties, but there is always a way to overcome them.

Thank him from all of us for his pure altruism!

Story written in May 2018