UNIMA Special Needs Section receives Orbit Readers

On 25th April, 2022, the University of Malawi Special Needs Section received a donation of 20 assistive devices for visually impaired students. The devices, which are called Orbit Readers, have been donated by the Kilimanjaro Blind Trust from Kenya, which is in a partnership with the Malawi Union for the Blind.

Speaking during the symbolic presentation of the gadgets, the Vice Chancellor, Professor Samson Sajidu, expressed excitement over the donation. According to Sajidu, UNIMA is the most inclusive institution of higher education with approximately 90 special needs students enrolled. The University supports the students in a number of ways such as making special accommodation arrangements and providing subsidized tuition. He noted that such good gestures from well-wishers and Non-Governmental Organizations help the institution in providing accessible equipment and facilities for the students with special needs.

The Special Needs Department has been privileged to be trained on use and maintenance of the assisting devices. Among other things the Orbit Reader is cost effective in the sense that it does not require expensive Braille papers or require constant maintenance as compared to the fragile Braille machine. The reader is also very handy and mobile, since it can use mobile apps that assist in interaction and communication among the users. Additionally, the assisting device does not need transcribers, has a calculator for Math based subjects, high storage capacity and can provide access to the Internet.

In his speech during the ceremony, the President of the Malawi Union of the Blind expressed his gratitude to the Kilimanjaro Blind Trust Africa for being a reliable partner that has been assisting the union with Braille machines and taking visually impaired personnel on board as the world is technologically advancing. He also pleaded with UNIMA staff and students to be responsible in the use of the devices.