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inABLE Connects Africa's Visually-Impaired Students with Assistive Technology

Author: www.inable.org

Published: 2010-08-28

Synopsis and Key Points:

inABLE envisions a day when blind and visually impaired students all over Africa have convenient access to life-changing computer based educational tools.

Main Digest

inABLE envisions a day when blind and visually impaired students - all over Africa and beyond - have convenient access to life-changing computer-based educational tools.

On August 31st Irene Mbari-Kirika, founder of the Atlanta-based nonprofit inABLE , will depart for Kenya to cultivate new learning possibilities for Africa's blind and visually impaired students and teachers, kick-off the "Adopt a Computer Lab" Fundraiser, and visit inABLE's very first assistive computer lab at the Thika Primary School for the Blind.

"inABLE envisions a day when blind and visually impaired students - all over Africa and beyond - have convenient access to life-changing computer-based educational tools," explains Ms. Mbari-Kirika. "We want to level the playing field by giving these eager young learners more Braille books, assistive computer technology centers, and access to online teaching tools."

The seed of inspiration behind the inABLE was planted in 2008 when Atlanta resident Irene Mbari-Kirika traveled back to her native country to establish a library (at the time Ms. Mbari-Kirika had invested two years into building the charity Our Reading Spaces) and encountered a particularly engaging group of blind students whose educational advancement and employment prospects were extremely limited due to insufficient educational resources and nonexistent assistive computer technology.

On returning from her 2008 Kenya trip, Ms. Mbari-Kirika re-focused Our Reading Spaces' broad library-centered mission to meet the challenges of Africa's impoverished blind and visually challenged students, changed the organization name to inABLE, and began actively networking in the USA and Kenya.

Today, Ms. Mbari-Kirika persistent advocacy has successfully yielded committed supporters and partners. In October, the inABLE founder will welcome three Georgia Tech University scientists in Nairobi for a planning trip to set up a five to ten year research project aimed at developing new ways to improve digital accessibility for the disabled.

Bruce Walker, Ph.D. from the School of Psychology at Georgia Institute of Technology looks forward to beginning the new research collaborative in Kenya. He explains, "I am very excited to extend our research in accessible STEM education into Kenya. We are truly appreciative of the collaboration of inABLE, and our many colleagues in Kenya without whose assistance this project would not have taken on this international aspect."

Another significant achievement that Ms. Mbari-Kirika has orchestrated - with the support of volunteers and business sponsors, including Safaricom Foundation - is the arrival of 22,000 books shipped from Atlanta on August 10th to establish a library at a primary school for the blind in a small city called Thika and a library that will be shared by several schools in Kairi village.

As this Kenya native and Kennesaw State University business student pursues her "Johnny Appleseed" type journey to spread assistive computer technology labs in blind schools throughout Africa and beyond, she hopes to pick up many more generous supporters, advocates, and "Adopt a Computer Lab" donors to help her tend and grow inABLE.

For more information about inABLE go to www.inable.org

To become a Facebook Fan visit: www.facebook.com/home.php#!/pages/InABLE/113056482080608ref=ts

InABLE is working to level the playing field by giving Africa's blind and visually impaired learners more Braille books, assistive computer technology centers, and access to online teaching tools.

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