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Cellphones for the hearing impaired

McDonald’s and Nashua Mobile recently partnered to provide the top performing hearing impaired pupils of MC Kharbai school in Lenasia with cell phones to keep them connected.

Although the idea of providing hearing impaired scholars may sound strange, more than ever the hearing impaired is using cell phones to communicate with family and peers.

McDonald’s and Nashua Mobile handed over 28 BlackBerry Curve smartphones to the top performing scholars at MC Kharbai in Lenasia.

Communicating with family and friends, competing in the business world or simply ordering a pizza can be a challenge for the hearing impaired without the right equipment, said Nashua Mobile CEO Mark Taylor. ‚”The BlackBerry smartphone helps to remove these barriers and provide the children with increased independence and closer contact with their friends and family, without needing any assistance of others,‚” said Taylor. The smartphones will allow the pupils to communicate easily using email, text messaging and instant messaging, via a QWERTY keyboard, a touch screen, extended vibrations, closed caption playback support or hearing aid compatibility. The QWERTY keyboard is a standard computer version and the simplest format to learn.

For the hard of hearing, the BlackBerry smartphones are equipped with a Sound-Isolating Headset which offers highly accurate sound reproduction via noise-isolating ear gels, providing virtually clear communication for calls and enhanced sound quality for music and videos.

‚”McDonald’s is committed to the well-being of children and continuously looks for opportunities to uplift them, specifically those from disadvantaged and impoverished backgrounds. We are proud to have partnered with Nashua Mobile to provide the top achievers of MC Kharbai with these smartphones to help their lives to operate more efficiently and reward them for their stellar academic and social performance,‚” says Daniel Padiachy, the Marketing Director of McDonald’s South Africa.

Nashua Mobile adopted MC Kharbai School as one of its charities in 2012, and immediately dug a borehole to reduce its water bills. Helping the pupils by donating smartphones was even closer to Nashua Mobile’s heart and would make a big difference in the lives of the youngsters, Taylor said.

MC Kharbai School has 342 learners, 156 of them either hard of hearing or profoundly deaf. About half the students have normal hearing, but have learning difficulties. The school follows a mainstream curriculum for deaf learners, and runs special courses for children with learning problems. Children from both groups received the new Blackberries, and seven students who were identified as top achievers and outstanding contributors to school life were the first to be given their own smartphones.


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