TORONTO, Jan. 13, 2020 – Every year thousands of Canadians receive a new smartphone for the holidays, and their used devices end up collecting dust in drawers or on shelves for months or years to come – even though they may still be very new. This new year, the CNIB Foundation is asking Canadians to save their gently used devices from their fate in the clutter drawer, and donate them to people with sight loss through the organization's Phone It Forward program.
The program takes modern, gently used smartphones; refurbishes them and outfits them with accessible apps; and puts them directly into the hands of Canadians who are blind – as well as providing training on how to use their refurbished phones with confidence.
"Many people don't realize the tremendous impact modern smartphones have in the lives of individuals who are blind," said Melanie Burgess, Senior Director of the CNIB Foundation's Phone It Forward program.
She adds that new accessible smartphone apps make it possible for blind and partially sighted users to do all kinds of things that may have seemed impossible before, from travelling safely using GPS to shopping independently or taking the proper dosage of medication.
Despite how life-changing smartphones can be for blind Canadians, many people with sight loss still don't own one – at least not one that's advanced enough to help them in their daily lives. CNIB Foundation researchers have found that only 27 per cent of the organization's clients own a smartphone, according to a recent survey.
"This is the most important time of year for the Phone It Forward program. So many smartphones and tablets get thrown away or shelved after people get new phones as holiday presents," says Burgess. "Instead of throwing away their used smartphones, we're asking Canadians to give them to people who could really use them – people whose lives could change because of them."
To donate your smartphone, make a financial donation or learn more, visit phoneitforward.ca.
About the CNIB Foundation
Founded in 1918, the CNIB Foundation is a non-profit organization driven to change what it is to be blind today. We deliver innovative programs and powerful advocacy that empower people impacted by blindness to live their dreams and tear down barriers to inclusion. Our work as a blind foundation is powered by a network of volunteers, donors and partners from coast to coast to coast.
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