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May 21, 2012

Nokia Connects & Ama Wheelies

Nokia Connects teamed up with Ama Wheelies and a local Nokia Developer Champion from South Africa recently to go the extra mile (or two) in support of access to mobile technology for disabled people (the team actually travelled over 3,500 miles by car – road trip!).

Ama Wheelies is a registered not-for-profit organisation that helps Quadriplegics and Paralplegics in South Africa’s poorest province Mpumalanga. The aim was to empower severly disabled quadriplegic and paraplegic’s in the province.  The hard working Ama Wheelies team are pioneers in this field and are working hard to bring the benefits of mobile communication and mobile work opportunities to the disabled people of Mpumalanga.

To this end, a series of communication training workshops were arranged throughout the province. These workshops provided free training to teach disabled individuals not only how to use high end mobile devices but more importantly how to save on communication costs by using free services and social media sites available from the Nokia Store.

Nokia Connects liked the idea and happily teamed up with Ama Wheelies. We supplied 32 refurbished media review units which could be used to benefit the disabled members of Ama Wheelies. Then plans were made to host training events so that users could make full use of the devices.

The refurbished units were sold locally and 23 brand new Nokia C5-03 units and two Nokia 5800’s were purchased for the training. These units all have TFT resistive touchscreens which are easily and cheaply adapted for quadriplegic use (without needing expensive stylus’s).

The local Spar crossings in Nelspruit donated snacks and the Nelspruit office of the National Youth Development Agency made a conference facility available freely to make group training easier. Without all these dedicated people and sponsors the training would never have been possible.

Getting everyone together in one place was a mission and very expensive and so smaller training workshops were planned for Johannesburg, Witbank, Lydenburg, Nelspruit, Barberton, Whiteriver, Sabie, Ermelo and Tzaneen. To make sure that as many people as possible benefited from the training events, members who were sick or could not make the group events received free home visits.

Sadly sometimes even when you go well beyond the line of duty not everyone can benefit due to various circumstances and a few members where unreachable due to technical issues and lack of good cell reception in certain area’s.

The good news though, is that the following Quadriplegics and Paraplegics benefited from free communication training during the first workshops held in the province.

Quadriplegics: Barry, Cillie, Shane, Bennie, Moses & Patrick

Paraplegics: Veronica, Colin, Bethuel, Moosa & Amos

A few care givers also benefited from free training and handsets. A huge thank you goes out to all the dedicated team members and sponsors who made this training a huge success. Check this out for more details or head to Nokia_Connects to let us know what you thought of the activity.