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Our Story

This organization’s journey began as a give-back wish to improve the the lives of impoverished childrenin the rural areas of Kenya with small-scale reading spaces libraries. However the scope of the proposed program to improve access to learning opportunities transformed, during a 2008 program development reading event, when founder Irene Mbari-Kirika met a group of bright, eager and quite competitive students who stole the show, including winning a reading competition (in spite of the fact that all of them were blind). Intrigued, Irene visited the Thika School for the Blind and discovered a significant educational discrepancy that needed to be addressed.

Because the blind and visually impaired had greater educational and life-skills challenges, the newly-formed organization refocused its purpose to make blind/visually impaired students the primary recipients of new learning resources. The original work of creating reading spaces would continue, but as a secondary program. This led to the creation of inABLE; a 501c nonprofit organization based in the USA and Kenya with a mission to empower blind and visually impaired students in Africa through assistive computer technology.

Computer learning and connectivity was the most obvious way to create long-term learning opportunities for blind and visually impaired students. This understanding lead to the design of Computer-Labs-for-the-Blind, consisting of a complete assistive computer-technology environment that includes: accessible hardware, software, computer-lab infrastructure, Internet connectivity and employable skills training. The first inABLE assistive computer-technology lab opened in Thika, Kenya in July 2009.

inABLE currently offers three programs:

inABLE strongly believes that computer literacy will help blind students in Africa bridge the academic gap, between the sighted and blind, as well as have a life-changing positive impact. Today, thousands of disadvantaged special needs students at Kenyan schools for the blind are  learning to access online educational resources, communicate with new friends worldwide, type essays, research homework, and develop employable skills, i.e. Microsoft Word, Excel, Web development, and hardware maintenance (Cisco IT Essentials).

Accomplishments:

• inABLE presently operates eight assistive technology computer labs at St. Oda Primary School for the Blind; St. Lucy’s Primary School for the Blind; Thika Primary and Secondary Schools for the Blind; Likoni Primary School for the Blind; and Thika High School for the Blind. 

• Over 1800 students and 150 teachers are enrolled and presently learning to use multiple computer types, desktop computers, laptops, and iPads.

• Secured a 5-year STEM research partnership with Georgia Institute of Technology that will measure the impact of our technology program on the students and promote accessibility of Math and Science to blind students through assistive technology. 

• Hosted a peer-to-peer training vacation camp where some students spent seven days providing iPad training to camp attendees from four different schools for the blind.

• Assistive technology and basic computer skills training, includes: Introduction to Computers, Keyboard skills, Microsoft Word, Windows XP, NVDA.

 • Students are able to access online educational resources, including school textbooks on Kindle.

• Web development HTML instruction is available to advance students.

• Over 20,000 assistive technology computer-training hours have been taught since inception.