Safaricom has partnered with AYUDH Kenya, an international youth movement dedicated to empowering young people to contribute to a peaceful and sustainable world, to distribute white canes worth over Ksh 30 million to 20,000 blind and visually impaired persons across the country.
The project will see 10,000 children and youth identified by the Kenya Union of the Blind (KUB) and Kenya Society for the Blind (KSB) receive white canes, while the Safaricom Foundation will distribute the remaining white canes to 10,000 blind and visually impaired persons as identified by AYUDH Kenya.
“Despite the crucial role white canes play in the mobility of the blind and visually impaired, their access is hindered by factors such as affordability and accessibility,” said Arjaa Shah, chairperson AYUDH Kenya.
“Through our White C(r)ane Project, which started in 2014, we aim to provide assistive devices to blind and visually impaired persons, we are happy to partner with Safaricom to positively impact the lives of 20,000 children and youth in Kenya,” said Shah.
Post the first ever Global Disability Summit in July 2018, Safaricom began a white cane campaign as part of its Diversity and Inclusion agenda, which seeks to mainstream disability inclusion.
“Two years down the line, we are still delivering on our commitments at the Global Disability Summit, which are centred around elimination of stigma and discrimination, economic empowerment of persons with disabilities and facilitating the availability and affordability of assistive devices,” said Paul Kasimu, chief human resources officer, Safaricom.
Kasimu noted that through such initiatives, they hope to reduce inequalities and ensure that blind and visually impaired individuals across the country have access to white canes to enable them to live and work with dignity,” said Paul Kasimu.
The Safaricom Foundation, which has distributed assistive devices to more than 5,000 children with visual impairments across over 50 schools in the last 3 years, will distribute 10,000 white canes across the country.
“We are glad to be part of this initiative to transform the lives of blind and visually impaired children and youth as it speaks to the foundation’s focus areas of health, education and economic empowerment,” said Joseph Ogutu, chairman, Safaricom Foundation.
“Our role is to deliver the white canes to areas where they are needed the most, we will rely on our strong community partnerships to reach those who are most in need and ensure that we leave no one behind.”
Safaricom’s white cane campaign also entails a registration exercise in partnership with the Kenya Union of the Blind (KUB) through USSD *678#.
The exercise seeks to create a database of visually impaired persons across all 47 counties to help them get access to specialized government services.
The project will also see the Safaricom Foundation and Lions Club Huru donate food hampers to 10,000 visually impaired beneficiaries.