March 6, 2015
When a group of friends and I joined together to form Kilimanjaro Blind Trust in 2005, we hoped to increase access to basic equipment that would allow blind and visually impaired children in East Africa to live a more purposeful life. None of us anticipated how the organization’s reach would explode within the first decade of its existence. It is beyond thrilling to be able to report just how big of an influence they have had on the education of thousands of young people in East Africa.
(Here I am with Paul Polman, President and Co-Founder of Kilimanjaro Blind Trust, and Paul's sons)
The Kilimanjaro Blind Trust is charged with a tall order: 6 million African children are blind or visually impaired, and 90% of these children do not attend school or ever become educated. It costs more than triple the amount to educate a blind child compared to a sighted child, and governments in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania aren’t able to provide the basic needs for blind children to get an education: braille machines, braille textbooks and braille papers for note-taking. Thanks to a partnership with the Perkins School for the Blind, which is located in Massachusetts and is the oldest school for the blind in the United States, KBT has donated Braille equipment to dozens of schools in East Africa. In 2012, KBT donated approximately 15 tons of Braille paper through its partner organizations. KBT provides braille machines and trained field technicians to more than 3 dozen schools in Kenya, which helps over 1,000 blind or visually impaired children. Approximately 1,000 Braille machines get repaired and maintained each year by field technicians who were trained thanks to support from KBT. The KBT held a very successful fundraiser last year, which allowed them to deliver 95 new Braille machines to a school in Kenya. (source: www.kilimanjaro-blindtrust.org)
While it is so exciting that the KBT has successfully reached thousands of blind and visually impaired children in East Africa, there is still a huge gap between their current reach and their goal of getting a Braille machine into the hands of every blind child in Africa. If you would like to help the KBT in their journey toward this amazing goal, please visit the following link to their website: http://kilimanjaro-blindtrust.org/give-today/.