The most equipped computer lab serving the blind community in East Africa, enabled by Close the Gap

Posted on Jan 15, 2018 12:00 AM by Close The Gap

The Kenya Society for the Blind (KSB) is a non-profit organization based in Kenya. Its mission is to enhance the prevention of blindness, increase access to services and opportunities for visually impaired persons.

Through the Flemish university cooperation for development, VLIR UOS, which supports partnerships between universities in Flanders and in the South, KSB received a total of 75 desktops.

With this donation, KSB fully revamped their Centre for Adaptive Technology (CAT) with 25 computers.

The CAT was started in 1999 in response to the need to train visually impaired in computer skills. Learners usually receive an individualized training to access and transmit information electronically.

Learners use assistive technology softwares (Job Access with Speech (JAWs) and Magic) that converts computer text into audio for the blind and into large print for those who have low vision. Learners are then trained in: Introduction to Windows XP, Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, MS PowerPoint Internet & Email. Since 2006, KSB has trained over 540 persons with visual impairment mostly from four schools across Kenya.

KSB did extra work on electrification and cabling of their CAT centre. KSB now claims, their CAT class is the most equipped computer lab serving the blind community in East Africa.

To make these computers functional, they have equipped the computers with:

  • Licenses of screen reader (JAWS) for totally blind
  • Licenses of screen magnifying software (Magic) for the low vision
  • Licenses of TypeAbility

These licenses were donated by Free Scientific, their local partner ITAC Consulting.

With the remaining computers, KSB also replaced their old assets used by staff (donated many years ago by Close the Gap). Thanks to this initiative, KSB received licenses from Microsoft. To help KSB in its financial management system, KSB also upgraded its information system from Navasion 7 to the most current Navasion 18. This was not possible with the old computers.

KSB will soon launch another CAT to provide additional adaptive computer classes to visually empaired.