Integrated Approach to Braille Literacy, An Update on KBT’s progress

The Kilimanjaro Blind Trust, with its partners, has been setting up an integrated approach of providing new Braille machines to institutions where there are not enough for each blind student to have his or her own machine. The Trust has also run training programs to prepare more repair people so that a machine can be repaired closer to home and more quickly. In each of our three target countries we have set up a Spare Parts Depot, a central place where repair people can get spare parts that will always be in stock

KBT founders Paul and Kim Polman visited Nairobi in August 2009 to meet one of KBT’s partners, the African Braille Center, and to reunite with Douglas S (who was blinded in the Nairobi American Embassy bombing) and his trusty helper, Joash Aswani, who together climbed Kilimanjaro in 2005 and completed the entire Tour d’Afrique on a tandem bicycle in 2008. Paul and Kim met them to help officially open the Spare Parts Depot for Kenya, where machines can also be repaired. For the occasion, the African Braille Center gathered together advocates for the visually impaired – students whose schools will benefit, blind athletes from Nairobi, blind students from Kenyatta University who are mentoring younger blind children and who are becoming advocates for the visually impaired, Braille repair people, and journalists from various media.

Kim notes that “it was satisfying for us to meet the people in our partner organizations working to support the blind and visually impaired who also came to the festivities, and who are gradually developing to lead full, independent, satisfying and meaningful lives, thus fulfilling the goals of the Kilimanjaro Blind Trust. We have complete confidence that the African Braille Center can carry out the work effectively and efficiently.”