Dear Donors and Friends,
Another year has quickly passed so we would like to update you on what the
Kilimanjaro Blind Trust accomplished in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda and what we
plan to continue working on.
Momentum is increasing and we are excited to report that after a productive year,
the projects that the Kilimanjaro Blind-Trust is funding are beginning to become a
model, expandable to other regions. Our further goal is to continue to develop this
model and to make it sustainable.
The Braille machine repair network established in 2009, including training repair
technicians, establishing spare parts depots, funding transportation costs to deliver
machines, etc. has functioned well in 2010 so that over 2000 machines have
been repaired. Repair training programs continue to go on at both a beginner and
advanced level. We have provided more new Braille machines as well. As a result,
to our great excitement, better access to machines in the schools has started to
have an impact on visually impaired students. As the leader of the training sessions
stated, “Participants (of the training) professed that since the inception of the repair
project, there has been serious improvement of the performance of the blind children
The Trust’s Perkins School for the Blind contact who manages our programs in East
Africa, Laura Matz, recently visited the region where she met with representatives
from the three countries. She came back with positive news about the impact that
the Trust is starting to make and is now very excited about how it is becoming a
model for other regions in the world. This regional coordination makes a larger
impact and alerts governments and other aid agencies to the importance of Braille
literacy, who then start to become involved, thus creating even more momentum.
This is just starting to happen. USAids, for example, has recently joined us in
funding part of the repair training workshops. The Uganda government is providing
the salary of a repair technician for the first time.
But there is still much that needs to be done.
Repair training will continue to be done, and we hope now to establish a standard
of proficiency for the technicians with recognition through certification in the regions.
This will make it a profession in itself to be aspired to, and hopefully, over the
long-term, to have a stable group of technicians who have gained considerable
experience and can perform even the most difficult repairs.
Ongoing we are still working on establishing a databank of all the machines in
the countries to be able to track the machines and their repair schedule, to detect
repeated problems, to better train students how to use the machines and care for
Despite our assistance in making existing machines available for use again and
despite our donations of new machines, on average only 1 in 4 visually impaired
student (in Uganda for example) has access to a machine. Not only does this limit
their progress, but apparently, it also increases the risk of damaging a machine.
The students need their own machines throughout the day, every day. Without
it, they cannot take notes, or do homework, or take exams. Therefore, we must
continue to repair machines, but also distribute 1000’s of new ones.
Access to high grade Braille paper is also an important need. This paper needs to
be imported and is very expensive. When schools run out, they use other paper
which is often another cause of broken machines. Therefore, the Trust will assist in
improving access to Braille paper.
Still to be developed is better and consistent teacher training so teachers can
properly teach Braille.
Therefore your support is still needed, small and large.
Thank you again for your commitment to the Kilimanjaro Blind Trust which is proud
to support the dedicated people in Africa and at Perkins who are carrying out our
We wish you a very successful and enriching year, and thank you again from the
depths of our hearts.
Director, Kilimanjaro Blind Trust