One of our major goals in KIR Foundation for learners with visual impairments (VI) in Nigeria is to ensure that the VI learners we serve have assistive devices to access quality education.
Therefore, during our anniversary celebration annually; through our Educational Support Project for persons with disabilities we donate assistive devices such as Braille Slates, Typewriters, Laptops, and Tape recorders to participate in class effectively and Guide Canes to the blind or visually impaired to assist them with mobility.
Since 2012, we have assisted Blind/visually impaired learners in various institutions/organizations; The Special School for Handicapped Children, TLEC Educational Centre, Christy Toby Inclusive School, Anglo-Nigerian Welfare Association for the Blind, Handmaids Nursery and Primary School for the Sighted and Blind, Special School for the Deaf, Otana Inclusive Centre, Queens College Lagos, PADHER Initiative, The Federal Nigeria Society for the Blind, Ignatius Ajuru University of Education Special Education Unit and set up a Reading Corner in Therapeutic Nursery and Primary School Enugu, a disability-inclusive school.
This year, on Friday the 3rd of February at the KIR Foundation Community Inclusive Centre we had a Special Hangout with 20 learners with visual impairment like Maxwell Iwejuo. We donated assistive devices such as 6 Guide canes, 4 Bluetooth keyboards, 2 Braille slates and styluses, and 6 Typewriters to make learning easier for them and to help them access quality education and a better future.
The Blind and Visually Impaired can live a normal life and navigate life easily if given access to the right technological tools. The major reason for donating the wireless keyboards to the learners was to aid their studies and work. Also, the twenty learners received training on how to use the devices effectively.
Chijioke Glory; a Content Creator who is Visually Impaired was one of the 20 beneficiaries ”This Bluetooth keyboard will help me to improve my writing skills because I’m a content writer, it will take away the difficulty of navigating my phone.”
While Abiodun Emmanuel a 200-level Sociology student at the University of Lagos with a broad smile on his face said, “this keyboard will help me to take notes in class and meet up with dictation during lectures”.
We deeply appreciate all our donors and our Implementing partner PADHER Initiative for supporting us to make quality education accessible to learners with visual impairment. Our target this year is to assist 50 learners with visual impairment with educational support. So far, we have supported 38 persons with VI. Kindly invest in more young people like Queeneth and Abiodun so that they can have access to quality education and have a better life.
The Guest Speaker; Dr Emmanuel Thompson, a lecturer in the Special Education Department of Ignatius Ajuru University and a former beneficiary of KIR Foundation in the Special School for Handicapped Children, truly challenged everyone present to pursue their dreams without giving excuses. Dr. Emmanuel became blind in secondary school, and after getting rehabilitated in the Special School for Handicapped Children, proceeded to acquire his first degree, Master’s Degree, and PhD in a 10-year span to get employed as a lecturer. He said; “We cannot succeed in life if we allow our excuses to bury us while we are still alive”.
The Special Guest; Eleanora Boyo, a Disabilities Rights Advocate, inspired the blind students to move forward with their lives despite their disabilities. While Bitebo Gogo; the Volunteer Executive Director of KIR Foundation encouraged the students to focus on their abilities and in spite of the societal barriers maximize the opportunities they have access to succeed in life.
Some of the recipients/beneficiaries like Maxwell got a Typewriter. Maxwell who is 32, became blind at the age of 25. He is a trained auto-mobile Electrician and happily married with four children. Recently, he went back to school and is currently in Junior Secondary School 1 in the Special School for Handicapped Children in Port-Harcourt. ‘
According to Maxwell; “Am very much grateful to Keeping It Real (KIR) Foundation for remembering us, this typewriter will help me because the one I was using was bad, and am happy that you came to my aid”.
While, 22 years old, Queeneth also got a Typewriter. She lost her sight at the age of 16 and she is currently undergoing rehabilitation at TLEC Rehabilitation Centre For The Blind in Rivers State. She said the Typewriter will enable her to learn faster and assist her in the rehabilitation process.
Then, on the 17th of February, we partnered with PADHER Initiative in Lagos to donate 20 Bluetooth Keyboards to Blind and Visually Impaired students from the University of Lagos and the Federal Nigeria Society for the Blind, Oshodi Lagos. Our Implementing Partner and the Founder of PADHER Initiative; Miss Ngozi Ukpai-Okoro who is also Visually Impaired emphasized the importance of technology for persons with disabilities; “Technology they say makes things easy for everyone, but for persons with disabilities, technology makes things possible”.