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Photo of Claire sitting in a chair outdoors and smiling for the camera. A golden retriever is sitting at her feet.

Brantford resident can’t imagine life without her smartphone

Seventy-four-year-old Claire from Brantford recently received a smartphone from the CNIB Foundation’s Phone It Forward program. Now she can’t imagine life without it.

Smartphones have drastically changed the way that we live, but many people don't realize how smartphones can enhance the lives of people with sight loss, including Claire, who lost her sight in 2003. 

“I don’t get around like younger people, but I try to be as active as possible and, thanks to CNIB, I can,” says Claire. “I own a laptop, but I can put the phone in my purse and take it into stores with me – it will tell me what I’m looking at and I can call cabs myself, so I don’t have to ask other people.” 

Smartphones empower people with sight loss to navigate the world safely. This technology allows people who are blind or partially sighted to do everyday things like reading prescription labels, taking medication safely, travelling safely alone using GPS and hundreds of other day-to-day tasks that many take for granted. In addition to using the smartphone for practical purposes, Claire also enjoys using it for entertainment when she’s relaxing at home.

“Before I had my phone I would listen to audiobooks and disturb my neighbours. Now I have a phone with headphones, and I can listen as loud as I want,” says Claire with a smile. 

The Phone It Forward program encourages Canadians and organizations to donate their old smartphones, so they can be refurbished and loaded with accessible apps for community members with sight loss. Donors will receive a tax receipt for the value of their phone and make a life-changing difference in someone's life. 

“I appreciate everyone who has donated their smartphones to the CNIB Foundation's Phone It Forward program. Many people with sight loss, including myself, can’t afford one of their own,” says Claire. “I am sure I will get more use out of it and will continue to practice because it does make a difference.” 

To learn more about the CNIB Foundation’s Phone it Forward program, visit