People all over Australia are being asked to donate old smartphones to support the country's deafblind community.
Able Australia – a national not-for-profit organisation that works with people with sight and hearing impairments – highlights figures that show 288,000 Australians live with such afflictions.
Research shows that more than one million Australians could have no hearing and sight by 2050 – and this prompted Able Australia to launch a new campaign.
The initiative is wholly focused on showing several positive actions that Australians can take to actively help the nation's deafblind community in a significant way.
Among these actions is the donation of any smartphones – with chargers – that are no longer required. All data will be wiped for privacy reasons before the phone is reused. Ideally these devices would be an iPhone 4 and above, Samsung Galaxy S4 and above, LG Nexus 7 and above or Nokia Lumia 540 and above and be in good operational condition without a cracked screen.
Able Australia's Claire Tellefson explained that this is part of a unique program called Ablelink. “The focus this year is to ask people to donate phones they may no longer need. We have many people who could make incredible use of your unwanted phone and its connection ability,” she commented.
Ms Tellefson said her charity can take these unwanted smartphones and train clients in the deafblind community to use it. The device will be connected to a braille machine using Bluetooth technology, so it can be used to stay in touch with others and evenfor navigation purposes.
“For instance, one client Gina has used this powerful technology to amazing effect,” Ms Tellefson remarked. “She's written – using a smartphone and tablet – to her Aunt Zia… in Italy.”
The appeal is coordinated by Able Australia's Scott Darkin, who said that the simple gift of a smartphone can become a very powerful item that can help to mitigate the impact of issues such as depression and social isolation.
This is a particularly important consideration at a time when nine out of ten people who are deafblind experience some form of anxiety or depression.
“As a leading not-for-profit we are doing all we can. Hundreds of thousands of Australians have huge issues with hearing or sight. It's a growing problem,” said Mr Darkin.
He also noted that one of his clients says his smartphone helps keep him alive and enables him to get to places he would not otherwise be able to access.