Celebrating Mobile phones with assistive technology

Gateway Beneficiaries celebrating phones with assistive technology during a presentation ceremony
Vera Ahlemann-Schoeller Foundation Logo

It was an exciting day in that particular April day last year as we distributed mobile phones to our participants!

Covid19 induced lockdowns made us think of ways to continue with our programmes as Gateway to Elation. We and our partners came up with an idea of moving our training programmes to online platforms like WhatsApp, Zoom, etc.

Since 2020, our beneficiaries were using their relatives’ and/or friends’ phones to attend our online programmes. However, it would become a challenge in terms of catching time but mostly, experimentations. We then decided to purchase smartphones for our beneficiaries.

I shall be covering stories of beneficiaries who received these itel phones with talk back: aka Android accessibility suite in the coming weeks.

Talk back which comes preinstalled in Samsung phones, Pixel devices and so on works pretty well. It will be part of the ecosystem of those smartphones. However, most budget phones do not come with talk back preinstalled and that includes itel phones. We chose itel P36 pro LTE phones because of their powerful battery, relevant to our power situation. We chose them for their space and we also chose them for their powerful processor. Most importantly, we chose them because we saw a potential for talk back to be installed.

Many twicks had to be done and redone to make Android accessibility work in our itel phones. Other methods of forcing the phone to accept Android accessibility were discovered along the way. We now have great experience in dealing with phones which come without Android accessibility out of the box.

We thank our volunteers who made this phone day last year a smooth one. Themba Kwenda (the field marshal), Adrian Musariri (rastaman), Mercy Nyoni (our treasurer), Owethu Ndlovu (ex-assistant) and Sizamile Ncube (the Mrs).

Huge appreciation goes to the Vera Ahlemann-Schoeller Foundation, our partners from Germany and Paul A and family from Switzerland for financially supporting this ongoing Gateway to Elation online programme.

#itel #GatewayToElation #Zimbabwe #BlindEmpowerment #AccessToInformation #AndroidAccessibility #TalkBack #NVDA #VoiceSynthesiser #LearningOnline  #kanthari #Kerala #India #Switzerland

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