A Journey with University Braille Transcriber, Mr. John Mwangi

In a world that constantly strives for inclusivity and accessibility, individuals like Mr. John Mwangi Ndung’u are instrumental in bridging the gap for students with visual impairments. As a University Braille transcriber, his story is not just one of professional dedication, but also a testament to the transformative power of mentorship and dreams.

A Path of Inspiration

Mr. Mwangi’s journey into the realm of Braille and accessibility began with a twist of fate. After facing challenges with his KCSE results and contemplating joining the military, a dream experienced by his uncle

John’s role as a Braille transcriber at Mount Kenya University involves translating educational materials into Braille, ensuring that every detail is captured accurately. This process is meticulous, involving various techniques and technologies, such as Braille translating software, OCR scanning, and even the traditional Perkins Braille Writer. The goal is to adapt complex graphics and content to make it accessible to visually impaired students.

What inspired John to become a Braille transcriber was a unique combination of circumstances. Despite not securing a university seat after his KCSE, his uncle’s dream led him to discover the world of Braille. As he immersed himself in this tactile writing system, he realized its vastness and uniqueness. This passion has been the driving force behind his career.

John recently organized a charity event in collaboration with the Kenya Society for the Blind to raise funds for visually impaired students who cannot afford their school fees. The event involved a challenging hike up Mt. Oloongonot in Naivasha and was graced by Dr. Pastor Dorcas Rigathi, the Second Lady of Kenya. Mount Kenya University’s active involvement in this event has not only contributed to supporting students in need but has also enhanced the university’s reputation and recognition.

Looking ahead, John and the Special Needs Association of Mount Kenya University have plans to support differently-abled students in various sports and recreational activities. These initiatives aim to promote inclusivity and provide students with disabilities the opportunity to showcase their talents.

For students who want to contribute to a more inclusive and accessible university environment, John emphasizes the importance of social interaction. Involving differently-abled students in debates, talent shows, and other activities can help them feel a sense of belonging. Simple gestures like guiding them to their lecture rooms and offering assistance in navigating the campus can go a long way in fostering a welcoming atmosphere.

 Ndonga’s dedication to the field of Braille transcription and his commitment to promoting inclusivity in higher education is both inspiring and impactful. His story serves as a reminder that with determination and passion, individuals can make a significant difference in the lives of those with different abilities, ensuring that education is truly accessible to all.

Article By: Heri Manyara