A year ago, we formally unveiled Phone It Forward – a new program that gives Canadians a unique opportunity to donate their old smartphones, receive a tax receipt, and empower people who are blind.
Thanks to a $5,000 gift from WestGroupe, ten Quebecois with sight loss now own modern smartphones. Their generous donation to the CNIB Foundation's Phone It Forward program provided Sébastien Bolduc with a free smartphone and one-on-one user training.
See the coverage of the event: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ryvC5OURmkU
“My goal is to be as independent as I can be in spite of my blindness,” said Sébastien Bolduc after receiving his new phone.
Even though he has yet to complete all the formal training, Sébastien says his smartphone has already helped him in several ways.
"I ask it quite a lot of things! I use Siri to wake up in the morning, to tell me the time, to read my emails and to find information online," says Sébastien. "I also use my new phone to listen to podcasts, which is something I could not do before, and I even managed to check out a YouTube video."
In addition to the 10 smartphones, WestGroupe's donation is enabling CNIB to provide smartphone training to ensure recipients acquire the necessary skills to make the most of their devices.
“For people who are blind or partially sighted, smartphones are a game-changer – a portable, all-in-one communications and accessibility solution. In the hands of someone who is blind, a smartphone becomes more than most people can imagine – a critical tool that opens a world of opportunity and independence," says David Demers, Executive Director, CNIB Foundation Quebec.
“The phone will be like my eyes! I can’t wait to use the GPS,” says Sébastien. “It’s so important to me to be able to get around public places and to get to know my environment, like everyone else. When I walk on the street, I want to know if there are businesses or parks nearby.”
Sébastien is continuing to learn how to use the device and hopes to become proficient.
"I still have a lot to learn about the phone’s different features, but it has already changed my life and I could not be more grateful," says Sébastien.
Visit phoneitforward.ca to donate your smartphone and change the life of someone who is blind.