Can you imagine life without something that we often take for granted – eyesight? It seems almost impossible to do even the barest of tasks without being able to see. However, this is the reality for a subset of the population living in Kenya. It’s estimated that over 650,000 people in the country are blind or visually impaired and 43% of the cases are caused by cataracts. Whether they’re born with it or caused by illnesses, blindness can make life difficult. Musician Crystal Asige Lost Her Sight In Her Early 20s But She Has Not Let That Stop Her From Pursuing Her Dreams
Blind people go through several challenges trying to navigate day-to-day activities from their homes to their workplaces. Using their phone is one of the biggest challenges that they face. Some of us have had to assist a blind or visually impaired person to retrieve information from their phone. However, this doesn’t have to be the norm for them. Everyone has a right to privacy and this shouldn’t be compromised due to a disability.
Technology has been a huge game-changer for people living with blindness. With the help of assistive technology like Safaricom’s M-PESA Voice, they have one less thing to worry about. M-PESA Voice is a service that helps the blind access information about their M-PESA accounts by dialling 456.
Back in 2018, Safaricom launched a braille watch, in partnership with DOT Incorporation, that allowed blind people to access M-PESA services independently. Additionally, the telecommunication company plans on adding a feature that enables them to navigate the M-PESA menu using voice commands. These kinds of technology have assisted people with blindness to live like normal people and enjoy the same services that everybody else enjoys.
Eases Access To Information
The internet is the go-to for any kind of information you need whether you’re looking for learning material or checking what’s happening around the world. Unfortunately, this information isn’t accessible to blind people as they require braille to be able to read. MPESA Voice and other assistive technology such as Siri, Google Assistant, and Alexa have allowed blind people to gain access to information easily.
Before technology, blind people relied on the goodwill of others to access information. This would expose them to fraudsters and thieves who would take advantage of their disability. M-PESA Voice enables blind people to gain access to information using an interactive voice command technology. They can now check their M-PESA information without external assistance which keeps their personal information safe.
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Nobody likes to feel like a burden to others. However, people living with blindness may not have the privilege of feeling fully independent as they need assistance to do some tasks. Nonetheless, they can gain a bit of independence using assistive technology. Voice-enabled apps and devices help them read on their own, access functions on their phones and even navigate through unfamiliar places.
Connects Them To The World
Blind people can now feel seen and have an active online presence. Apps like Google’s TalkBack braille keyboard allow people who are visually impaired to type on their phones without requiring extra hardware. Similarly, Safaricom’s M-PESA Voice gives them an opportunity to interact with their service provider and ensure they receive efficient services.
Safaricom has played a significant role in improving the lives of persons with disabilities, from developing apps that help persons with disabilities to be able to be more independent and by creating employment of opportunities for them. Here’s a story of one of Safaricom’s staff members – I Might Be Blind But My Vision Has Always Been Very Clear – Diana Yatich, Safaricom HR Operations Officer
Check out 3 Reasons Why We Need To Make Technology More Accessible For The Visually Impaired