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AccessKenya MoU Brings Broadband Internet Access to Every inABLE Computer Lab in Kenya

Picture of 4 men in the picture at the MOU signing event

[Photo caption: From left: Chris Senanu, Deputy Executive Director AccessKenya, blind computer student Nelson Otieno from Thika High School for the Blind, inABLE Representative Tim Kajume and Dr. Musili from Computers for Schools Kenya]

inABLE, AccessKenya Group and Computers for Schools Kenya entered into a partnership by signing an MoU at the Norfolk Hotel in Nairobi on March 10, 2015. This event was attended by AccessKenya Deputy Managing Director, Chris Senanu, Alfred Otieno who is the CSR Manager Access Kenya, Tim Kajume inABLE, George Siso inABLE Country Coordinator , Dr.Musili from CFSK, Mr. Jotham Makokha who is the Headmaster Thika Primary for the blind and different media houses.

We also had one teacher from Thika High School for the Blind, Mrs Ogongo and Nelson Otieno who is a direct beneficially of the program; he is visually impaired and in form four. Nelson gave a very inspiring speech on the benefit of technology to the visually impaired and how he has benefited from the program. Thank you Nelson.

 Enclosed below is the speech presented by inABLE representative Tim Kajume at the signing ceremony MoU signing ceremony. It is with great respect that we thank AccessKenya for their commitment to support the use of technology in the delivery of education in Kenya and enlightened LEADERSHIP.

Picture of 2 men signing the MOU

 [Photo caption: From Left: Chris Senanu, Deputy Executive Director AccessKenya Group and Tim Kajume, inABLE Representative in Kenya signing the Memorandum of Understanding at the Norfolk Hotel in Nairobi on March 10th 2015]

inABLE Speech Notes for AccessKenya MuO Signing Event

OPENING

When inABLE first introduced its computer technology-learning environment five years ago at the Thika Primary School for the Blind, Access Kenya was there—day one—providing the Internet access to benefit 300 eager students. Deputy CEO Kris Senanu was at our launch celebration as our official guest of honor. I am pleased to tell you today that our program has expanded to four schools for the blind and 1200 students.

The amazement brought on by web accessibility is an exhilarating experience for both the sighted and the blind. However the impact on a blind person can seem life altering. A teacher told us:  “The InABLE computer program has restored back our sight; we can now read newspapers, magazines, download books from the Bookshare, and send or receive messages.” 

While the technology may not yet exist to restore true sight, assistive computer-technology combined with the Internet and basic computer training, like the kind inABLE provides, gives blind and visually impaired students the same access to online education resources as sighted students.

Presently, with the exception of inABLE’s students, graduates from Kenyan schools for the blind complete their education with just Braille skills, only to enter a world that is completely oblivious to Braille. Through our partnership with Access Kenya, inABLE is able to better prepare these special needs students for post-school life.

We believe that computer technology with Internet web accessibility can bridge the gap between the blind and the sighted. At our 7 operating computer labs, inABLE’s students utilize assistive computer technology, such as screen readers and magnifier software, to access computer-based learning resources. It is the Access Kenya Internet connectivity that gives these students a more complete education via digital textbooks, storybooks, videos, publications, daily newspapers, and more. Our long-term plan is to provide blind school graduates with employable skills. Currently, InABLE students are learning web design and Cisco IT Essentials, in addition to fluency with the latest mobile computer technology and assistive technology apps.

MoU:

In the coming years when inABLE achieves its mission of installing computer labs at all 9 schools for the blind throughout Kenya, over 2,200 students and teachers will benefit from an enhanced educational curriculum that includes the necessary computer technology skills and familiarity with today’s information-technology driven world.

Our partnership with Access Kenya is a critical lifeline that is essential to the success of our computer literacy program and a limitless resource for our promising students. This momentous MoU signing represents the removal of an information-access barrier that has—until now—limited our students’ future opportunities.

Thank you Access Kenya for your continued efforts to bring web accessibility to all of the schools for the blind throughout Kenya.

inABLE Computer-Lab Students Demonstrate Assistive Computer Technology via iPad at February DISABILITY DAY Event at JOOUST

 

inABLE participated in a DISABILITY DAY event, organized by the Siaya County, at the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology (JOOUST) in Bondo Town Kenya this past Saturday, February 14th.

The St. Oda’s School for the Blind was well represented by four capable (totally blind) class seven inABLE computer lab students: Devoter Awino, Kennedy Luvembe, Sara Anyango and George Ojwang.

Congratulations to everyone involved with this successful event.

inABLE Receives Donation from Newly Launched Blackboard Charitable Giving Program

WASHINGTONDec. 23, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Blackboard Inc. has launched its Charitable Giving Program, the company announced today. This year, over $200,000 will be provided to multiple organizations to help foster education technology programs all over the world.  

This inaugural program represents the first time Blackboard has formally rolled out a corporate charitable giving process and marks the latest step in the company's efforts to support its renewed mission of "reimagining education." 

"As part of the global community, it is important for us to look beyond our four walls and day-to-day activities and find ways we can give back," said Jay Bhatt, CEO of Blackboard. "I couldn't be more thrilled about the launch of this program and am excited to work with the organizations selected this year. While each is unique, all are focused on enhancing life outcomes through improved access to both education and technology. This is directly aligned with what Blackboard strives to do every day." 

The five organizations receiving donations are:

  • Circle of Women implements innovative and sustainable solutions to increase girls' access to secondary education. In partnership with the Barli Development Institute for Rural Women in Indore, India, the organization is building and furnishing a computer room, a classroom and a dormitory for rural and tribal women in India. This project will enlarge BDIRW, allowing them to grow the number of women they serve by 60 percent per year. 
  • First Book provides new books and educational resources for free or at a low cost to schools and programs serving children in need. First Book is using the funds to support a tablet pilot program. 
  • inABLE provides nearly 1,200 blind and visually impaired children in rural Africa with computer assistive technology and library services. With the donation from Blackboard, inABLE plans to make software and hardware upgrades to the Thika High School for the Blind in Kenya
  • Library for All has created a digital library that allows access to culturally relevant and linguistically appropriate content sourced from international and local publishers. The organization plans to use the donations to develop a monitoring and evaluation program of the digital library at 10 sites in Haiti
  • Literacy Council of Northern Virginia teaches adults the basic skills of reading, writing, speaking and understanding English to help them participate more fully and confidently in their communities. LCNV plans to use the funds to modernize their volunteer training systems, incorporating e-learning and interactive online volunteer management tools.

To learn more about Blackboard's Charitable Giving Program and when applications to be a part of the 2015 program will open, please visit here.

For more information about Blackboard, please visit www.blackboard.com or follow @Blackboard on Twitter. 

About Blackboard Inc. 
Blackboard is the world's leading education technology company. We challenge conventional thinking and advance new models of learning in order to reimagine education and make it more accessible, engaging and relevant to the modern day learner and the institutions that serve them. In partnership with our customers and partners in higher education and K-12 as well as corporations and government agencies around the world, our mission is to help every learner achieve their full potential by inspiring a passion for lifelong learning. For more information about Blackboard, follow us on Twitter @Blackboard.

CONTACT
Lauren Dyke, Blackboard Inc.
(202) 463-4860 ext. 2860 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

SOURCE Blackboard Inc.

iPad VoIP Training Improves inABLE Faculty Proficiency

 

5 computer instructors seated in a iPad training session

By Georbert Athoo, inABLE Assistive Technology Instructor

While inABLE has indeed realized its vision of installing the best (and first) computer-technology education program for the visually impaired in five schools for the blind in Kenya, the learning curve related to operating computer labs is ongoing. A close watch on how the technology has evolved from the original desktop to laptop and now tablet mobile devices demonstrates the necessity of continual computer equipment investment and training.

With the addition of iPad tablets into the St. Oda School for the Blind computer lab, inABLE recently rolled out an online iPad training workshop in partnership with Maryland School for the Blind. inABLE Assistive Technology Instructors were quite eager to participate in this unique education exchange to keep pace with changing technology innovation.

On December 18th,  a Maryland School for the Blind facilitator provided time-saving iPad use guidance to equip inABLE’s Assistive Technology Instructors with adequate skills and know-how to offer effective iPad training to the visually impaired students in the iPad class in St Oda and for other upcoming projects. This training included an emphasis on the VoIP voice over as the screen reader.

Our instructors enjoyed the convenience of receiving professional development training from the comfort of our office in Thika School for Blind and found that this education has already positively influenced the way we teach. We had fun moments too.

 As an organization, inABLE benefits from this convenient online education exchange with the Maryland School for the Blind. It’s with joy and appreciation that we thank the Maryland School for the Blind for making this important learning opportunity available. The InABLE faculties proficiency has rapidly increased as a result of this effective online training.

Our gratitude also goes out to the inABLE Executive Management for pursuing dynamic enrichment opportunities and for a continued commitment to further its employees’ computer and education knowledge.

 

A DAY TO REMEMBER FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITY

 Blind students with iPads at exhibition at KICC

Written by: Carolyn Ngondi, Lead Computer Instructor, InABLE Kenya

December 3rd was dedicated as a recognition day in Kenya for persons with disability. It was their day to showcase remarkable abilities and promising potential. A special event to create awareness about the views, challenges, frustrations and needs of the disabled people took place at the prestigious KICC conference and event facility.

The event highlighted services dedicated to persons with many different types of disabilities. A representative from the President’s office, the honorable Kazungu Kambi, gave the keynote address. inABLE was invited by the Kenyan Ministry of Education to participate in this important exhibition.

As an organization with experience empowering persons with visual impairment through assistive computer technology, inABLE was eager to take part in this momentous public awareness occasion. Students from St Oda School for the Blind had the privilege of exhibiting their computer knowledge, using iPads.

Four students representatives came fully loaded with new techniques on how to use an iPad. Each student demonstrated a particular skill, such as typing notes, doing mathematics using Mathfact, reading of books with Kindle Reading App etc. These students impressed everybody who came to see what they were doing.

The relevance and importance of computer learning for the blind in Kenya is a new concept that inABLE is working hard to implement at all blind schools countrywide. There’s a common misperception that only sited can use computers that needs to change. For instance, a man who came and intently watched the students caught my eye. He did not ask any questions. After a time, he walked away shaking his head in amazement. His astonishment really took me by surprise. Are there many more people in our society who do not know that technology can be used by visually impaired people?

As an organization inABLE has identified a learning opportunity that has never been made available to blind and visually impaired students. In addition to expanding our computer-lab-for-the-blind educational program, getting the government to approve a computer curriculum for the blind, we also need to participate in more events like this to increase the public awareness so that many more blind and visually impaired citizens will be able to learn to use computers.