Peek is a smartphone-based system (ie an app) than can be used to test for visual impairment. It is simple enough to be used with only a short training period, by people without optometry skills, such as classroom teachers. Usha Dhanesha, a Coventry-based optometrist trialled the system in Mekelle, with help from SENT and the Regional Education Board convening and managing schools and teachers, and the results bore out our own observations, and demonstrated that much could be achieved with relatively simple steps. An edited version of Usha’s report is in the latest newsletter (CLICK HERE).
We are delighted to be developing a relationship with Ethiopiaid, the charity which provided match funding for the Big Give fundraiser at Christmas, enabling us to reach such a fine total raised.
Separately, Ethiopiaid have recently made a grant of £16,000 to SENTigray for the appointment of three strategically placed staff at the Mekelle Blind School. These staff will take roles in Safe-guarding (supervising guards and proctors), IT management (setting up and managing a computer room and system) and Resources, and should improve the lives of the children immeasurably. The funding will cover costs for 2 years.
Our Thanks to Ethiopiaid for their support on both these fronts.
Pete and Gary fly out to Mekelle at the end of October 2016 to check on the progress of the Talking Textbooks project (and many other things too). Masho, Aklilu and Hadush have reported much work completed already, and once the textbooks are recorded a large distribution and monitoring operation will be needed to maintain the service: the students will come to rely on the audio players, and we will need a system which tells us how effective the operation is, or where improvements need to be made. Around 2,500 players will be needed, we believe, and promised funding needs to be monetised. The numbers of students can only be an approximation at this stage, as visual impairment can be a reason for prematurely dropping out of education, and it is only those IN education that can easily be counted.