BRIDGING THE DIGITAL DIVIDE: RUB and KBTA UNITE TO EMPOWER VISUALLY IMPAIRED LEARNERS WITH ORBIT READERS DISTRIBUTION
In a world where technology is rapidly advancing, it is crucial that no one is left behind. Unfortunately, visually impaired individuals often face significant challenges in accessing and utilizing digital resources. However, in a remarkable collaboration, the Rwanda Union of the Blind (RUB) and Kilimanjaro Blind Trust Africa (KBTA) have joined efforts to bridge the digital divide for quality and inclusive education of visually impaired learners.
Through the distribution of Orbit Readers, a groundbreaking assistive technology device, these organizations are empowering visually impaired learners to thrive in the digital age by using this edu-tech solution to enable them have full access to the educational content.
In October 2023, the Rwanda Union of the Blind (RUB) and Kilimanjaro Blind Trust Africa (KBTA) distributed 60 Orbit readers to learners with visual impairments in Rwanda. This collaboration aimed to provide equal access to educational content and promote digital literacy.
The first school to receive the devices was HVP Gatagara-Rwamgana, where 15 Orbit readers were distributed. The school expressed gratitude for the support, as it would help improve teaching efficiency and student engagement.
With a shortage of devices and over 150 visually impaired learners, the additional 15 devices would greatly alleviate the challenges faced by the school and learners as well.
RUB and KBTA team handing of 15 orbit readers to HVP Gatagara school management
The remaining 45 Orbit readers were distributed to the Educational Institute for Blind Children-Kibeho.
During the distribution, the school organized a special event to welcome the RUB and KBTA teams, featuring performances by visually impaired learners and activities using Orbit readers.
A learner giving the welcoming note using Orbit reader
The head-teacher of the school highlighted in her speech the number of visually impaired students and the partnership with RUB and KBTA in supporting digital literacy at school under her management. One of the trained teachers who support learners and other teachers on the device usage showcased the achievements made possible by the Orbit Readers that were received earlier, how this device improved the learning outcomes of learners and emphasized that the distributed devices were really needed to enable learners continue receiving education in a reduced barrier class environment.
Mr. Mucyo Brian, a student at Kibeho School for Visually Impaired learners, spoke about and testified the value of Orbit Reader20 in his education. He mentioned how the devices reduced the need for carrying heavy braille books, take and store their notes, have access to access books and made studying easier.
He testified that the introduction of Orbit Readers at the school he used to write a lot of notes so that they wouldn’t get fit in his school bag since those notes required a significant amount of braille papers which were hard to carry. ‘Orbit reader is an enabler device and a life changing for VI learners.
Representatives from RUB and KBTA emphasized the role of Orbit readers in bridging the digital divide in education. They encouraged schools to make the best use of the devices and expressed their desire for a stronger and continued partnership.
The representative of Rwanda Basic Education Board(REB) in this distribution event thanked RUB and KBTA for the partnership in making the education of VI inclusive. She promised the government partnership and support and highlighted that with continued collaboration, the education system in Rwanda can thrive, ensuring a brighter future for all learners including those with visual impairment.
This successful distribution of Orbit readers is a significant step towards empowering learners with visual impairments in Rwanda.