Kenya has over 45 million people but15% of the Kenyan population is comprised of people living with disabilities according to the National Council for Persons with Disabilities.

In a move to make the 15% population skilled and employable, Microsoft in partnership with inABLE Friday opened an assistive technology computer lab at the Likoni School for the Blind to support the school and the visually impaired in the community with digitalized learning materials under its Microsoft philanthropies initiative.

According to Microsoft Philanthropies Manager for Sub Sahara Africa, Alex Nyingi, “This partnership will involve training for students on how to code, create software and websites to boost the innovative and creative skills for the visually impaired. As Microsoft continues to introduce more and more products, students who get this training will be provided with early creators’ editions so that they can also share feedback to the product teams at Microsoft.”

Microsoft philanthropies has partnered with the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of ICT and inABLE to provide assistive computer labs for persons with disabilities in Kenya starting with basic computer-training program developed for learners with blindness and low vision.

The lab which will see more than 500 pupils benefit is part of a larger initiative by Microsoft to create educational, employment and entrepreneurial opportunities to more than 300 million youth around the world.

Microsoft launched a similar project in 2009 at the Thika Primary School for the Blind.

Microsoft’s mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more, and with Microsoft’s passion about increasing accessibility to technology to people of all abilities.

Microsoft piloted the partnership with InAble together with the Ministry of Education in 2016 to increase access to education by learners with visual impairment.

The Ministry of Education, Ministry of ICT, inAble and other partners such as Strathmore University iLab will also participate in research and development, in a bid to measure the impact of the computer training programs to inform policy and decision making at ministry level.