February of 2021, was a very exciting month at Jipange. After enduring a year long hiatus, we are finally back in operation. We welcomed back our beneficiaries with an addition to our services. This is our very first knitting class taught by a volunteer. The main objective of the class is to empower the students with the ability to earn a living through knitting.
Knitting without seeing what you are doing is not a big deal. Most blind people do things every day that sighted people can’t imagine doing without seeing. The teacher here is taking time to explain things verbally. She lets the students feel the needles and the stitches to let them understand the process. Then, she watches them put into practice what they have learnt and fine-tunes where there is a need for further understanding.
June 2020 – Despite the challenges Jipange is facing due to COVID-19, we have been working hard to create awareness of the various difficulties the blind and visually impaired are facing. As a result of this, a very generous donor made a donation of a brand new motor bike to help in our transportation needs. We at Jipange are forever grateful!
The Blind and Visually Impaired can now play SHOWDOWN………. in other words, Table Tennis!
Apart from the blind, the deaf are also facing a lot of challenges due to COVID-19. While other sighted students have access to virtual learning tools, the dead just like the blind do not.
May 2020 – In this video, Mark Sabwami – Founder of Jipange was doing advocacy work for the blind and visually impaired persons in Kitale, Trans Nzoia County through mainstream media. The translation of what he said is shown below:
It is very important to consider the plight of blind people and the deaf during this COVID-19 pandemic. Reason being, if home schooling and online learning for the disabled during this quarantine period is hampered by lack of accessibility features on eLearning platforms and television educational broadcasts, then progress of these disabled persons is impeded to a great extent. As a result, they are bound to attain very low grades in standardized examinations in comparison to sighted students. I am appealing to the Ministry of Education and the Kenyan Government to offer accessibility features on eLearning platforms and educational television broadcasts to benefit the blind and the visually impaired students as they prepare for their examinations.
Although Corona has deprive us of so many thing, we should not allow it ot deprive us of our joy. So, choose to be happy and don’t worry!!!
Lillian Achieng does not know anything about braille or anything related to rehabilitation of visually impaired individuals. She comes to Jipange just like a little preschooler would going to school for the first time. She has lived 12 years of her life in the dark and with no hope after she lost her sight. As a result, she was forced to drop out of high school and has just been sitting at home doing nothing. Her father died when she was just a little girl and her mother was too poor and uninformed to look for other resources that may be of assistance to her. The fact that they lived in a remote, rural area, made it difficult to access information regarding the availability of such things as braille, mobility training and rehabilitation. This scenario is repeated over and over in rural areas, and many blind people suffer needlessly.
Monday, January 13, 2020 – The day we welcomed our very first beneficiaries at Jipange! It was a very exciting day for everyone involved.
Jipange Empowering the Blind Event
Quite an exciting day at the Empowering The Blind Event!
On Monday, December 16, December 2019, Jipange conducted an awareness meeting at Trans Nzoia County in Kitale. The meeting was held at Kitale Youth Empowerment Hall, from 10 am to 2 pm. Invited guests ranged from target beneficiaries and volunteers who will work directly with Jipange. 35 people were in attendance. Some came from as far as Eldoret and West Pokot which is approximately 71 km from Kitale .
At the onset, invited motivational speakers set the pace by encouraging target beneficiaries by telling them they have a bright future regardless of how the community perceived them. The speakers elaborated on the need of valuing one self, the importance of self esteem and the need for the blind to better themselves through the training offered at Jipange.
The main purpose of the event was to introduce Jipange’s vision, mission and approach to the general public. The Founder, Mark Sabwami rolled out Jipange’s objective and reiterated the need of preparing blind persons especially in rural areas to be able to navigate the world around them. Target beneficiaries also had an opportunity to air their brief life histories, which entailed the cause of their blindness and the challenges they encountered after becoming blind. They discussed their expectations at Jipange.
Mark reassured beneficiaries that Jipange has taken measures to set them on a sure path to career development, entrepreneurship orientation and self reliance.
He elaborated on Jipange’s approach, which is geared towards enabling the blind to reconsider their disability as an advantage. This would be achieved by utilizing available opportunities and resources at Jipange, which are made possible by volunteers, generous donors and collaborative partners. Economic independence, bettering living standards and access to education of the rural blind people were the major key highlights of the event.
After the Founder’s speech, white canes from a donor were presented to 5 beneficiaries. A safety accessory known as a sensor was also introduced to the blind and the general public to sensitize them on the need of having such a safety feature attached on their white canes. It is a detector that alerts the blind person of an obstacle ahead as he or she moves around. Beneficiaries also were awarded promotional Jipange t-shirts that will sensitize the general public about Jipange’s activities.