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Computer Labs for the Blind

Blind student using a desktop computer

Presently, Kenyan schools for the blind do not offer students any computer skills training and graduates students with only Braille reading and writing abilities, only to enter a world completely oblivious to Braille. What’s unique about inABLE’s computer program is that it is a complete assistive technology eco-system that includes accessible hardware, software, computer-lab infrastructure, Internet connectivity and employable skills training.

Thanks to this pioneering assistive computer-technology program, blind and visually impaired students at the schools below are now mastering keyboarding, accessing online educational resources, communicating with new friends worldwide, typing essays, researching homework assignments, and developing employable skills. These students even have access to over 10,000 books courtesy of BookShare.     (View photo gallery)

To enhance teaching and learning with computer skills a growing list of schools for the blind are partnering with inABLE to brings computer–technology education to blind and visually impaired students, including:

2009  Thika Primary School for the Blind, Thika:  As the first special school for the blind in Kenya, Thika Primary school for the Blind was stablished by the Salvation Army in 1946 to educate blind and visually impaired students in Kenya, it was handed over to the Kenyan government in 1971. With an enrollment of 325 students and 38 teachers, inABLE opened Kenya's first assistive technology computer program in the Thika Primary School for the Blind in July 2009. Accessibility software, such as text-to-speech screen readers and screen magnifier tools for students that retain partial sight, were installed on all computers.

 2012  Thika Secondary School for the Blind, Thika:  inABLE expanded its computer program at Thika High School for the Blind in May 2012. The school has 261 students enrolled and 36 special needs teachers. The student body is made up of 90 girls and 171 boys between the age of 14 and above. Originally established by the Salvation Army in 1967 to educate blind and visually impaired students, it was handed over to the Kenyan government in 1971.

 2014

St Lucy’s Primary School for the Blind, Meru: In October 2014, inABLE established a Computer Labs for the Blind program at this special needs school. The school was established in 1961 by the Catholic Church and currently is under the management of the Government of Kenya. The student body is comprised of 315 blind and visually impaired students and 28 teachers.

St. Oda Primary for the Blind/ St. Oda High Schools for the Blind, Kisumu: The school was founded in 1961 by the Catholic Church and recently opened a high school within the same compound located in Gem District, Siaya County, Kisumu. Both the primary and high schools are under the management of the government of Kenya, and currently employ 22 teachers. In total, there are 314 blind and visually impaired students (265 students in the primary school, 24 students in the secondary school, and 25 students in vocational training).

The success of inABLE’s program is built on a model that is highly replicable, and ready to be expanded across the remainder of the schools for the blind and visually impaired in Kenya and other countries.

 Progress to date:

• Seven assistive technology computer labs serving students and teachers at seven special needs schools for the blind in Kenya

• 1200 students and 111 teachers, who are presently learning to use multiple computer types, desktop computers, laptops, and iPads.

 A research partnership with Georgia tech and Kenyatta University to conduct a national baseline survey in the nine special schools for the Blind to measure technology skills and perception of the students and their teachers.

• Peer-to-peer training vacation camp. In April 2015 some advanced students spent seven days providing iPad training to 60 camp attendees from four different schools for the blind.

• 14,000 assistive technology computer-training hours and counting, since inception.

Computer Labs Opening Soon with YOUR Support:
Kibos Primary School for the Blind, Kisumu
Kibos Secondary School for the Blind, Kisumu
Likoni Primary School for the Blind, Mombasa
St. Francis Primary School for the Blind, Kapenguria