World’s first Apple Training Centre for the Blind opens in South Africa

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Apple has launched the first ever Global Training Centre for the blind in Worcester, South Africa.Dubbed as The Worcester Apple Training Centre, the centre believed to be the first technology centre of its kind in the world.

The Apple Training Centre is a partnership between non-governmental organisation (NGO) partner Kaleidescope, the ABSA banking group, and global technology giant, the Apple corporation. The centre aims to empower blind and visually-impaired people with scarce technological and IT skills for the open labour market, and will create skilled digital entrepreneurs and tech artisans.

It is most encouraging to see our NGO partners embrace the Western Cape Government ethos of working in a ‘whole-of-society’ manner. The partnership with ABSA saw an initial R3-million invested into the programme, and Apple has come on board to provide the equipment and software.

In his address at the launch, The Western Cape Minister for Social Development, Adv. Albert Fritz, emphasized the need to transform the manner in which people living with disabilities are viewed. “We must stop disempowering the disabled by viewing them as incapable dependents. They are just as capable of achieving success, and our role as society is to ensure the barriers in front of them are removed and they are afforded opportunities to prosper” said Fritz.

The Western Cape Department of Social Development through its Services to Persons with Disabilities sub-programme, will spend over R148 million in 2016/17. A key development has been the establishment of the DSD Disability Desk. This office is is aimed at ensuring improved access to information and physical accessibility for Western Cape Government employees and the general public.

It is most encouraging to see that it has begun to become a valued resource to organizations working with people with disabilities.

The department would once again like to congratulate the Kaleidescope team, and wish the Apple Technology Centre all the best. We can empower people living with disabilities if we continue to work, ‘Better Together’.

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