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Totally Blind Atieno Awuor Christine Ventures Into Java Programming World

PHOTO CAPTION: Java programming code output done by totally blind Atieno Awuor Christine

 

October 23, 2015

Guest Blogger: inABLE Intern Atieno Awuor Christine

My name is Atieno Awuor Christine. I am a totally blind and currently undertaking my internship inABLE Assistive Computer Technology Lab at St Oda School for the Blind, the very same place where I learned how to use computers, design websites and complete accessibility testing.

When I first heard my inABLE colleagues talking about JAVA, I had to ask for an explanation of use and purpose.  Initially, I thought JAVA must be very difficult to learn and might only be meant for the sighted. However, I thought back on my inABLE computer-lab-for-the-blind learning journey that began coding and designing accessible websites using simple HTML and Notepad editor, and resolved that JAVA programming would be much easier to learn. If other totally blind individuals in the rest of the world can succeed in other fields, why shouldn’t I become a leader and venture into the programming world?

What I have discovered while programming with Java is that while many of the platforms used are accessible, there are still others that are not. Netbeans IDE is not fully accessible with NVDA and does not have its own built speech, as compared to Sodbeans that has accessibility features and inbuilt speech. Instead of notepad used for HTML. I use eclipse as my editor for all JAVA applications.

Java is indeed very interesting and give me hope that one day I too will be able to make my own applications for mobile devices, smartphones and computers and even games that my fellow visually impaired and totally blind persons can access and play!  Just imagine, one day I might even be a innovator in the programming world.

I thank the inABLE instructors and its founder Irene Mbari-Kirida (who had the determination to bring computer learning to the blind at schools in Kenya) for their person-centered computer program that does not to exclude students from more complicated programming. I also thank those who invented JAVA for opening my world to unlimited programming application possibilities.

 

Photo Exhibition by Emmanuel Jambo & inABLE

Exhibition Event Flyer

inABLE Computer Instructors Participate in Training on Production of DAISY Digital Talking Books

[Photo caption (from left to right): Peter Okeyo, Georbert Athoo, Wilberforce Abwao and Douglas Omweba

 

October 8, 2015

Written by: Douglas Omweba, inABLE Kenya Computer Instructor

inABLE recently organized several Skype sessions with Mr. Prashant Verma from DAISY (Digital Accessible Information System) Consortium in India to learn about the production of DAISY digital talking books for people who are blind, visually-impaired or have a print-reading disability. DAISY is designed to give the talking book reader the same flexibility that readers of standard print enjoy: navigation by chapter, section, subsection, and page. Readers can read or skip footnotes, sidebars, or information added specifically for users of the audio version.

During DAISY workshop—Training on Production of Accessible Books in DAISY and EPUB3 Format—open-source software was introduced, including the Save as DAISY add-in, Obi and Tobi. Reading and publishing systems based on DAISY and EPUB 3 bring flexibility and new options for visually and reading challenged learners who can listen to DAISY books on a computer or special stand-alone player at home or even when travelling.  EPUB 3 and DAISY format-based content production will reduce the reliance on heavy Braille materials that are less portable and more expensive.

The following inABLE Kenya computer-lab team members successfully completed the Daisy workshop and received certificates of participation: Douglas Omweba, Georbert  Athoo, Peter Okeyo and Wilberforce Abwao. 

inABLE Named Microsoft Upgrade Your World Initiative Beneficiary

September 3, 2015 

inABLE Named Microsoft Upgrade Your World Initiative Beneficiary

 

 Nairobi, Kenya – Microsoft has named inABLE as one of the local Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) that will receive a cash investment of $50,000 through the global Upgrade Your World Initiative. This announcement was made during the official launch of Upgrade Your World Kenya on September 1st, 2015.

The NGO that empowers blind and visually impaired students in Africa through assistive computer technology and skills training will join other 4 local NGOs that will represent Africa as beneficiaries of the global campaign.

Microsoft Corporation celebrated the launch of Windows 10 on July 29, 2015, by committing to Upgrade Your World, a year-long initiative that celebrates people and organizations doing great things. As part of the global Upgrade Your World initiative, Microsoft will be spot lighting 100 local nonprofit organizations making an impact in 10 countries across the globe, including Kenya.

While giving the key note speech during the Upgrade Your World Kenya launch, Microsoft Kenya’s Country Manager Mr. Kunle Awosika announced that Microsoft had already identified 50 of the nonprofit organizations (five of the 10 in each country) to receive a monetary donation of $50,000 each and in Kenya, inAble had been selected among the five local NGOs, that will benefit from the initiative.  

“With the help of the public who will nominate and vote online, we will be able to come up with the 5 NGOs who will also receive a $50,000 cash investment as well as technology, services, and awareness,” he added.

Mr. Awosika also lauded the work that inAble was doing at the Thika Primary School for the Blind under their Computer program.

“inABLE is both thankful and inspired by Microsoft Upgrade Your World Initiative’s donation to improve our computer-labs-for-the-blind program,” stated inAble’s Executive Director Irene Mbari-Kirika. “To date, Microsoft has equipped our program with 30 computers to connect over 300 special-needs students with unlimited online learning resources using an innovative educational platform that promotes information computer technology (ICT) as an integral classroom tool,” she added.

Presently, inABLE operates seven assistive technology computer labs at five special schools for the blind, employs 13 assistive technology computer instructors, and has enrolled over 1400 students and teachers.

To learn more about inABLE Computer-Labs-for-the-Blind visit: http://www.inable.org.

-Ends-

Second inABLE Technology-for-the-Blind Camp Advances Web Development Knowledge

 

August 17, 2015

Note: : The students attending inABLE’s summer technology camp were able to achieve a lot, especially in the web design and accessibility classes. The one-week camp allowed for a dedicated focus on employable web design coding and website accessibility testing skills. I am proud to report that over the course of the week, our blind and visually-impaired camp students designed a simple HTML- based accessible website for the Thika Primary School for the Blind. The coding was done in reference to following the rules by Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). The website is fully accessible.           Georbert Athoo, inABLE Accessibility Specialist

 

inABLE Technology Summer Camp

inABLE hosted its second Peer-to-Peer Boot Camp Training, from August 10-16th, at the Thika Primary School for the Blind. Over 70 students from four inABLE computer lab sites— St. Lucy Primary School for the Blind in Meru, St. Oda Primary School for the Blind in Kisumu and Thika Primary and High Schools for the Blind — participated in this summer computer-education experiential learning experience.

Our first technology camp for the blind in April was such a tremendous success we have added this peer learning experience to our program offerings,” notes inABLE Executive Director Irene Mbari-Kirika. “Computer learning is a subject that many of our students at our camp describe as fun, however increasing computer knowledge and employable computer skills is a necessity that has life-changing possibility in terms of higher education and employment options.”