This week on Youth Mtaani we met with Nelson Bwire. He is a fourth-year finalist at Kenyatta University where he is pursuing a degree in Special Needs Education.
#YouthMtaani: Defying All Odds to learn ICT as a blind person in Kenya
Learning ICT as a blind person in Kenya
Nelson is visually impaired but this did not stop him from chasing his dreams and seeing them through. He speaks on his love for learning and how knowledge in ICT has helped in his journey thus far.
When in primary school, Nelson had to learn braille, which he admits is difficult to learn and takes time for a visually impaired person to grasp their way through it. For the fourth year student, his love and knowledge of ICT were harnessed when he joined High School.
After getting his calling letter to Thika School For the Blind, Nelson's academic journey took a turn for the better. Here, the Inable Organization was providing computer studies to visually impaired students. The organization has introduced new technology to revolutionize and transform education for the blind.
Challenges of Braille
Through Inable, Nelson was taught the basics in technology. Before he could sit for his final exams in high school, Bwire was well conversant with computers and he began teaching younger ones back in his village in Siaya County.
Passing on education and skills to the younger generation is crucial to Nelson. He decided to study Special Needs Education in order to pass on his knowledge to others.
During our interview, Nelson noted that it's time the government certifies programs offered by Inable so that visually impaired students get the chance to compete for positions in the job market.
"Braille is very expensive and it takes time to learn compared to computers. Programs that are offered in ICT for the blind are easy to understand and also implement," Nelson said.
"It's time the government certifies such programs like the ones offered by Inable which will open doors for those who are visually impaired to get jobs in ICT," he added.
Society can also play a crucial role in supporting persons living with disabilities in their careers and learning, according to Nelson. He challenged various industry players to give more job opportunities and also make working spaces accessibility friendly.
"Employers and all Kenyans should give us more opportunities and modify offices to accommodate people with disabilities. With great opportunities offered we will exploit our full potential and contribute to society more," he points out.
Inable works with children in Kenya to help provide blind and visually impaired students with tools and training to pursue their capabilities, regardless of disability or circumstance.
Since some Kenyan schools for the blind do not offer students any computer skills training and graduate students with only Braille reading and writing abilities, only to enter a world completely oblivious to Braille.
Nelson credits the organization for empowering him which has enabled him to stand out as an independent person who can work in the fast-growing digital world.
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