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KIR Foundation Donates Mobility Aids, Assistive Devices To Enhance Learning For Students With Disabilities

Keeping It Real KIR) Foundation is a disability inclusive non-profit organization. The organization celebrated its 12 years’ anniversary of building a lasting legacy with these projects (Setting up of their 60th Reading Corner in State Primary School Elekahia and Donation of Assistive Devices to the Blind and Visually Impaired) in the first week of February. Students with disabilities, especially those from underserved/disadvantaged families like their peers without disabilities want a higher education so that they can have a better quality of life. However, most of their parents cannot afford to pay their school fees and when they manage to do so, they find it difficult to purchase basic writing materials, this is even more daunting for blind students who must use assistive devices like Braille Slates, Typewriters, Laptops, tape recorders, Wireless keyboard etc. to participate effectively in class.

In 2012, the organization adopted the Special School for Handicap Children in Port-Harcourt for 5 years and within that period donated more than 500 textbooks for the Deaf on Sign Language; like ‘The Joy of Signing’ and ‘Beginning Language with the Deaf,’ more than 5,000 Exercise books, Pencils, Pens, Erasers and Sharpeners, Braille Slates and Laptops etc. In the past 12 years, KIR Foundation, has donated Educational/Assistive Devices to schools/centers for students with disabilities. In Rivers State; TLEC Educational Centre The Blind, Christy Toby Inclusive School, Handmaids Nursery and Primary School for the Sighted and Blind, Otana Inclusive Centre, Royal Hearts Academy and Ignatius Ajuru University, Rivers State; and in Lagos State; Queens College Yaba, Anglo – Nigerian Welfare Association for the Blind and Federal Nigerian Association for the Blind. So far, KIR Foundation has donated over 86 Braille Slates and Styli, 18 Typewriters, 6 laptops, 20 Guide Canes and 4 Wireless keyboards

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Last year, the organization supported 66 students with disabilities in Ignatius Ajuru University with educational materials and Assistive Devices. While, sighted students like Grace in the Special Education Department of Ignatius Ajuru University in Rivers State with basic writing materials such as exercise books, a pen and few other materials is able to make the best use of every lecture; this is not the case for Emmanuella, a KIR Foundation beneficiary who is also a first year student in the Special Education Department. Although. Emmanuella knows how to use Braille Slate and Stylus (Braille hand frame and stylus is a means of writing braille introduced over a century ago. It is very time consuming, requiring an average of 90 minutes to produce a page of braille), it is therefore, more cumbersome to use in a university setting. She needs a laptop to be effective and efficient in her studies, but she cannot afford one, the alternative is a typewriter which although not the best option, can be used during examinations, because it is faster than the Braille Slate.

On the 4th of February 2022, KIR Foundation supported Emmanuella and her fellow students with disabilities (Blind, Deaf and Mobility Challenged) in the Special Education Department with basic writing materials like Exercise books and pens for the Deaf and Mobility Challenged and assistive devices like Braille Slates and Styli, Typewriters and Guide Canes for the Blind. Emmanuella got a Typewriter; she said that “It requires a lot of money for students with disabilities to succeed in school and they need all the help they can get”

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The Head of Department, Special Education, Professor S.N Ordu in his address thanked KIR Foundation for hosting the event in the university and promoting disability inclusion in society and supporting the disability community. He ended his speech by saying that it is a fundamental human right of people with disabilities to be properly integrated in society.No description available.

This year, on Friday the 3rd of February, once again, the organization continued with its tradition of supporting students with disabilities. Therefore, KIR Foundation celebrated its 12th Anniversary with a Special Hangout in the KIR Foundation Inclusive Community Centre in Port-Harcourt, Rivers State with Blind and Visually Impaired students and donated 6 Typewriters, 6 Guide Canes, 4 Wireless Keyboards and 2 Braille Slates and Styluses.

The Guest Speaker; Dr Emmanuel Thompson, a lecturer in the Special Education Department of Ignatius Ajuru University and a former beneficiary of KIR Foundation in the Special School for Handicapped Children, truly challenged everyone present to pursue their dreams without giving excuses.  Dr. Emmanuel, became blind in secondary school, and after getting rehabilitated in the Special School for Handicapped Children, proceeded to acquire his first degree, Master’s Degree and PhD in a 10-year span to get employed as a lecturer. He said; “We cannot not succeed in life if we allow our excuses to bury us while we are still alive”. The Special Guest; Eleanora Boyo, a Disabilities Rights Advocate, inspired the blind students to move forward with their lives despite their disabilities. While, Bitebo Gogo; the Volunteer Executive Director of KIR Foundation encouraged the students to focus on their abilities and despite the societal barriers maximize the opportunities they have access to succeed in life.

Some of the recipients/beneficiaries like Maxwell got a Typewriter. Maxwell who is 32, became blind at the age of 25. He is a trained auto-mobile Electrician, happily married with four children. Recently, he went back to school and is currently in Junior Secondary School 1 in the Special School for Handicapped Children in Port-Harcourt. While, Queenette, 22-years-old, also got a Typewriter.  She lost her sight at the age of 16 and she is currently undergoing rehabilitation in TLEC Rehabilitation Centre For The Blind in Rivers State. She said the Typewriter will enable her to learn faster and aid her rehabilitation process.

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According to the Volunteer Executive Director; Bitebo Gogo, in the past 12 years, Keeping It Real (KIR) Foundation as a disability inclusive, social impact and non-governmental organization (RC 916541) has worked with over 180 institutions in 36 States and Abuja, the capital of Nigeria and Ghana. The organization has reached more than 72,967 people with our programs on Education, Advocacy, Capacity and Sustainable Development. Also, KIR Foundation has trained more than 1,311 youth in various market-relevant skills (Digital, Vocational and Soft skills) and donated over 42,567 books, numerous educational aids, starter kits and farming implements. It has published; ‘The Young Leader’s Guide’, a leadership manual for young people and ‘It’s About Empathy’, an Explanatory Guide to The Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act 2018. Furthermore, as an organization with a global focus, all its projects are strategically aligned to promoting and implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Bitebo Gogo, encouraged everyone in the society to embrace disability inclusion and ensure that the Disability Act of 2018 is implemented by all stakeholders in Nigeria. She said a disability inclusive Nigeria will be a more developed, prosperous and empathetic country.

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