Kaleidoscope (previously known as the Institute for the Blind) has partnered with Absa to launch the first Apple training centre in the world for the blind in Worcester, Western Cape.
The technology centre will teach the blind how to use Apple products including iPhones, iPads, Macs and even the Apple Watch to their advantage to get gainful employment.
According to Executive head of Kaleidoscope, Freddie Botha, “Considering the fact that currently 97% of persons who are visually impaired are unemployed, there is an enormous need amongst blind and partially sighted people in South Africa to be trained in affordable accessible modern technology to enhance their employability.”
You might scoff at the realisation that Apple and “affordable” are in the same sentence but, according to Hein Wagner, Kaleidoscope brand ambassador, the equipment required to make a computer usable for the blind can cost thousands of rands.
“Up until a few months ago it would cost you more than R10 000 to convert a standard PC into an accessible text to speech computer for the blind,” Wagner explained.
“An average Braille display would put you back just short of R80 000 and with 97% of the blind in SA unemployed, it is time to find an alternative way to equip the visually impaired with affordable tools and training.”
Wagner goes on to explain that training the blind to use Voiceover (Apple’s accessibility tool of the blind) and how to use iOS and Mac operating systems properly with a view to gaining gainful employment.
Those who attend the training sessions at the facility will be taught how to use things like Facebook, Twitter and Whatsapp as well as enterprise resource planning and customer relations management software that might be encountered in the working world.
The facility will go along way to giving those with visual impairments the opportunity to find gainful employment once they have the skills they need.
The facility also forms part of Absa’s Citizenship initiative, as Sazini Mojapelo, Head of Citizenship at Barclays Africa explains. “A key priority of our Citizenship strategy is to help young people gain access to the skills and opportunities they need to unlock their potential.”
“In our interactions with Kaleidoscope we identified numerous synergies between the work they were planning and our involvement in enhancing the employability prospects of young people. We are extremely proud to partner with Kaleidoscope and extend services to more people –including those visual impairments,” Mojapelo concluded.
Good on Kaleidoscope and Absa for spear-heading the initiative and warming our hearts on this cold Tuesday morning.
[Source – Kaleidoscope]