Sightsavers take the Dolphin Pen to Africa

New Sightsavers Dolphin Pen gives Africans with visual impairments access to a computer wherever they are.

8th May, 2007

Visually impaired Africans are set to have their lives transformed by the arrival on the continent of the latest generation of accessibility software for computers.

Sightsavers International logoSightsavers International, the charity that works to combat avoidable blindness in developing countries, and Dolphin Computer Access Ltd, the British accessibility software developer, have teamed up to launch the Sightsavers Dolphin Pen, the lightweight thumb drive that makes it easy for blind and partially sighted computer users to use their full magnification software or screen reader on a PC wherever they are.

Sightsavers Dolphin Pen is a unique variant of the highly successful Dolphin SuperNova, the world's only combined software based screen reader and screen magnifier.  It will offer a low cost combined screen reader and screen magnifier on a USB pen drive enabling users to have complete portability of their access software.

Sightsavers Dolphin Pen will enable visually impaired children and adults in Africa to have full access to screen based information on their PC in either magnified text or synthetic speech.  This will allow users to produce documents, send email and surf the Internet – offering the same levels of independence to visually impaired persons as fellow computer users who have to switch between PCs at work, school or college.

Photo of the Dolphin PenSightsavers International is making the Sightsavers Dolphin Pen available to Sightsavers assistive technology programmes in Africa, including those for children.  The charity is a member of the Global Campaign for Education to get all children into primary education by 2015, an initiative backed by Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown.

Robin Spinks, Assistive Technology and Disability Adviser for Sightsavers, said: “In many African countries, there are no services and developed infrastructure for adults and children with low vision.  The arrival of the Sightsavers Dolphin Pen will increase their use of available PCs, especially as they can install their own personal accessibility requirements on to any computer.”

Noel Duffy, managing director of Dolphin Computer Access Ltd, said: “It’s great that our partnership with Sightsavers International will enable thousands of visually impaired Africans to benefit from a unique, combined solution that delivers speech and magnification in one single, stable package, helping to give computer users a real chance of an independent lifestyle.”

Roger Bonner from the Kenyan Ministry of Education, said “When I had the misfortune to lose most of my vision I thought that my working life and general usefulness to the world had finished. For the past 3 months I have been using the Sightsavers Dolphin Pen which has given me so much more mobility and freedom as I can be in any office, in any town or city, in any country and have the ability to access the majority of computers. Only somebody that has been forced to carry a heavy laptop from office to office as a matter of course, or has been totally reliant on other people, can fully understand or appreciate my new status. Dolphin are to be congratulated on this most welcome advance in such software technology and I sincerely believe that this extraordinarily complex but simple to use package will open up opportunities for many more people with similar problems to myself”.

Read how the Sight Savers Dolphin Pen has helped blind pupils at the Kilimani Primary School in Nairobi, Kenya.

Read the SightSavers Press Release