Kamoto (left) and Kaliati on middle

LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)-The country’s leading smartphone network provider Airtel Malawi on Thursday, July 15, 2021 donated assistive devices to visual impaired learners through ministry of gender and community development.

This is part of Airtel’s corporate social responsibility towards promoting education in the country.

The donated items worthy MK15 million including 10 Perkins Braille machines, 1 braille embossers, 9 embosser paper, 13 styli, 12 walking canes and 68 braille hand frames with paper.

Public institutions to benefit from the donated items including Blantyre Secondary School, Mulanje Resource Centre, Chilanga Resource centre in Kasungu, Ekwendeni Resource Centre; and Dept. of Disability in Lilongwe

Airtel Malawi’s Managing Director Charles Kamoto said the donation aimed at ensuring that students have access to quality education, and are in a school environment that supports and enables their dreams, regardless of their physical limitations is of paramount importance.

Kamoto adds, “Our efforts in adopting our first school, Salima Primary, which is an inclusive learning facility and supporting the Braille cup competition in partnership with the USAID and the Ministry of Education for over 5 years is part testament of our particular interest in the cause to transform lives in the communities we operate in.

“And so to extend these efforts further and break some of the barriers being faced in inclusive education institutions, we set aside K15 million and reached out to the Department of Disability to recommend a list of assistive devices in need and the schools requiring support”.

He explains further, “We all have a role to play to continue to break these barriers to education and improve the standards, one school, student and community at a time, and it is my hope that other stakeholders will also come in to support the various health, education and social welfare programs that will help shape Malawi’s future leaders.

After receiving the donation, Gender Minister Patricia Kaliati lauded Airtel for timely support amid Covid-19 pandemic as resources for visual impaired learners are hard to source.

Kaliati said donated items will strengthen the special needs education system in Malawi.

“Assistive technologies open doors, support learning, and increase independence. Increasing access to Assistive Technology enables special education students to compete, collaborate, and interact with their non-disabled peers. While it is not a cure or a magic bullet, assistive technologies level the playing field and help remove barriers associated with the student’s disability. Assistive technology can free students with disabilities from dependence on others and provide greater access to learning.

“Today, My Ministry celebrates a milestone in the relationship with Airtel Malawi. Our relationship is longstanding. I can remember that two years ago, the company made a similar donation of Wheel Chairs and Crutches.  I am very happy to see that the connection has been steadily expanding and deepening. Airtel is truly our Smart-Network Partner!” delighted Kaliati.

She added, “This donation of Assistive Devices stands to benefit a large proportion of learners who were unable to participate in class on an equal basis with their counterparts without disabilities. Its impact will expand access to high-quality education for the blind and ensure that they lead a life full of expectations for better life through education. This is truly worth celebrating, and we are looking forward to the continued support.

In 2016, Airtel Malawi also donated MK2.5m to the Ministry which was used to purchase tricycles which were
donated to MACOHA in Lilongwe.

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