Over 500 children to benefit from new Computer Lab for The Blind...

Over 500 children to benefit from new Computer Lab for The Blind in Likoni

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Some of the kids at Likoni School For the Blind showcase their skills after the official launch of the Lab. PHOTO: BRIAN OSWETA.

Mombasa, KENYA: More than 500 children at the Likoni School of the Blind are set to benefit from a program that aims to empower them with digitalized learning materials to boost their innovative and creative skills.

This is after Microsoft in partnership with  inABLE, on Friday officially launched an assistive technology computer lab aimed at helping the blind and the visually impaired students access computer technology and educational programming.

Speaking during the launch, Microsoft Philanthropies Manager for Sub Sahara Africa Alex Nyingi said that the opening of the computer lab is part of the company’s initiative to build a more accessible and inclusive world.

“This partnership will involve training for students on how to code, create software and websites to boost the innovative and creative skills for the visually impaired.” Said Mr. Nyingi.

He added that they piloted the partnership with inABLE together with the Ministry of Education in 2016, to increase access to education by learners with visual impairment.

According to inABLE Executive Director Irene Mbari Kirika, the Computer-Labs-For-The-Blind program has been ongoing of the past 8 years and over 2,000 children have been enrolled in various schools in Kenya.

“A similar project was successfully launched in 2009 at Thika Primary School for the blind, as an organisation we set up the computer labs  that aid the blind and visually impaired to use computers just like any other kid.” Said Irene.

She added that the computer lab launched at the school, comprises of 30 desktops and two assistive technology computer instructors, who train the students from basic computer skills to coding.

“The training can take a year or two and we have actually seen some kids who can now even code using HTML, Java programming with some even creating websites.” She said.

According to 12- year-old Nuru Samuel, one of the students who began using the program in February, the computers have assisted her in increasing her knowledge in various subjects.

“I am able to learn different subjects using the computer like science and also learn different computer skills for instance HTML, it’s a really nice program.” She said.

inAble is an NGO that seeks to impact lives of visually impaired students and teachers through the use of computers which are fixed with a talk back software; that guides a student on what to do by issuing commands on how to type and corrects them whenever one makes a mistake.

 

This makes it easy for the students to easily interact with the machines despite not seeing the screen.

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