The Free Internet Cafe for the Blind & Visually Impaired, the first in the whole of Africa, which opens the World Wide Web, making The Gambia a leading light in Africa, with this technology by allowing free and total access to surf the net send and receive emails and for students to enhace their studies with the aid of this pioneering software. No more do they need to rely on a third party to read to them newspapers, magazines, books, letters and world wide information. - Another International Magazine tells the story

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Another International Magazine


Simon Wezel, a Fellow of The Institution of Analysts and Programmers, set up the Kingfisher Trust more than a decade ago to provide a wide range of technical facilities and support in the Gambia. Most recently, it has set up an Internet cafe for the blind and visually impaired - the first in Africa

Simon visited the Gambia on holiday and was moved by the poverty he saw. He wanted to find a way to asset those who had no way to help themselves Starting with few resources, he encouraged organisations and friends to donate goods and distributecl them to those in need Alter traveling between the UK and The Gambia for 14 wars, he decided to live there permanently and thus expand the organisation Over the years, tangible results of the Trusts efforts began to emerge and more people got involved. links were set up with donors who were willing this developing nation

Simon Wezel takes up the story, 'Several Years ago, Captain Sane, who lost his sight alter a car accident m 1993, joined us as President. Just before visiting the UK in October 2005, I read an article about a computer

program for the blind A Symantec employee had just offered us £500 from a sponsored bike ride and the company had agreed to match his donation Having seen a demonstration of the Guide program at the RNIB, I decided to buy it from Software Express On my return I asked Captain Seine to come and try it out What happened was unbelievable

Within two hours he was typing a document and even sending e-mail for the first time in his life He said. This will make my life independent. I will not need my children to reed my letters and other documents It would be marvellous if other blind people could have this opportunity " The Guide Program from Software Express is really marvelous and very reasonable However, it was designed for individuals. which made storing email addresses very difficult as we entered one, the previous entry was canceled. This problem has been sorted by Software Express. which is releasing a new Internet café friendly version. The only other problems relate to saving and retrieving documents and the difficulty for blind people in navigating a file system We hope to overcome this problem by giving each student a personal USB flash memory stick

At present we have over 30 students aged between 14 and 38 the majority being 100% blind. We work very closely with the school for the blind. They have now started to teach keyboard skills at the school and we will coordinate a timetable with them because they have more people who would Like to join If we had the money, we could expand the Internet cafe and double the number of computers -

We need plenty of USB memory sticks! I expect a lot of people will have old, small capacity devices in their drawers, having` upgraded in the last year or so Please send,.

them to: Kingfisher Trust. P0.Box 110, Banjul, the Gambia West Africa. Please indicate on the jiffy bag that they are articles for the blind And. of course, donations are always welcome-

Mike Ryan, Director General of the IAP sad. We were delighted to make a contribution to the very worthwhile cause and we have given Simon an initial quantity of 20 USB memory sticks for his students. We hope many more people will do the sane.'

You can contact Simon at

The Kingfisher Web site is at www kingfisher gm

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