Though vast in number, the blind and visually impaired are a forgotten group in Africa. Educational opportunities for them are scarce and significantly behind technologically. Further hindering their role in the workforce is widespread bias and a lack of understanding of their capabilities. Combined, they result in a marginalized, dependent condition, either hidden from the rest of society or seen resorting to begging and prostitution for survival. The majority lack self-esteem and self-worth.
Our computer labs for the blind & visually impaired are a channel for specialized, locally relevant training focused on (1) building self-reliance and independence; (2) building social connections; (3) teaching information-gathering and academic advancement; and (4) training in skills employers seek most. We enable our students to compete with their sighted peers, and to ultimately enter a job marketplace that had previously dismissed them, leaving their intellectual & technical capacity unused.
The far-reaching impacts of this project include: (1) greatly increased feelings of self-worth and self esteem; (2) developed self-reliance and independence; (3) ability to seek gainful employment; (4) a shift in family dynamics where a person previously seen as a burden is recognized as an equal contributor due in part to newly acquired job skills; (5) transformation of social attitudes where blind and visually impaired persons are recognized as productive contributors to society.
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