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CAVI sponsorship a springboard for success

Fundi's sponsorship of the Cisco Academy for the Vision Impaired (CAVI) is helping to provide students around the world with IT education and opportunities.

CAVI provides industry-standard certification courses to blind and low-vision students throughout the world. Through Fundi's assistance and the flexibility of the Internet, students in any country can join in live lectures and laboratory sessions.

CAVI recently welcomed its 300th student to the programme.

"Flat out"

"We are flat out delivering courses to the US, New Zealand, Australia, India, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Canada, and other countries, and would not be doing so without the help of Fundi," said Dr. Iain Murray, founder and research coordinator of the Curtin University Centre for Accessible Technology (CUCAT).

CAVI, a not-for-profit enterprise, is a project of CUCAT. The relationship between Fundi and CAVI began through the Western Australian Information Technology & Telecommunications Awards (WAITTA): CAVI and Fundi are both WAITTA winners.

CAVI welcomes 300th student

Deenadayalan Moodley is the 300th student to enter the CAVI programme. Deena has big plans to use the skills he has acquired from CAVI to provide opportunities for others.

"As a self-taught ICT person due to the lack of specialized facilities here in Africa, I was heartened to learn about CAVI via Top Tech Tidbits. I promptly enrolled and I am glad I did.

Since enrolling, I have found friendliness, the willingness to share from both staff and fellow students and a sense of camaraderie which makes it one of the best communities to belong to and one of the best sources of information for blind people.

I have enrolled for two courses. Once these are completed, I hope to start a similar facility or even go on to establish a branch of CAVI here in Africa for students who have a dull future without it. This facility will need to teach the basics as well as the more advanced courses to give people something to work towards, since 99% of blind and partially sighted persons have not even seen a computer let alone know how to use one.

A second venture will be to establish a web hosting company that specializes in accessibility, since we currently do not have such a company here to give advice and to carry out audits on websites, etc.

Without CAVI this will remain just a dream, and a large number of blind people will not have a future to look forward to. I hope that CAVI grows from strength to strength and it expands the range of courses it offers. I know if it did, I would go on to being a lifelong learner."

Deena Moodley, CAVI student

Student to instructor

Shawn Thiel was the 200th student to go through the programme. Shawn used the skills learned through CAVI to find work and is now contributing to the academy as an instructor:

"I joined the Cisco Academy for the Vision Impaired because I had been out of school for some time, and discovered that college was not working for me. Nevertheless, I wanted to take a class to learn more about technology, and acquire future skills.

I did well in the IT Essentials course, and this was a confidence boost I truly needed. Because of this, I decided to go back to working with the state rehabilitation agency to see what kind of job I could find. Originally, this was going to be a customer service position, which I thought would be great since this is one theme of the IT Essentials course. Another opportunity came along, and I am now a paid Intern teaching blind people how to use JAWS and other adaptive technology in my local area. Furthermore, I was offered the chance to become an IT Essentials instructor with CAVI, and am now thrilled to be part of the team.

Being a part of this organization, first as a student, and now as an instructor, has enabled me to accomplish goals I hadn't thought possible in a long time."

Shawn Thiel, CAVI graduate and now instructor

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