Nobody chooses to be visually impaired. No one is ever prepared for a life where seeing is a challenge. Some were born that way while some meet the condition in their adulthood or course of life.
Visually impaired people need a lot of help to move around. Lucky ones have aids that help them move around with ease while some have none. In most cases, they are left to adapt to the environment and learn how to get around.
Although it is not widely talked about, visually impaired people are largely marginalized when it comes to Kenya’s baking sector. Kenya is one of the most “overbanked” countries in the region, and about 3 percent of persons living with disabilities who form part of bank customers have been “neglected”, or forgotten.
In almost all banking halls in Kenya, visually impaired customers will get no help unless he or she tag along with a friend or relative to guide them through. This is because most bank assistants have not been trained on how to communicate and handle such customers.
It is no surprise that most visually impaired persons in Kenya have no bank accounts. Why? Banks in Kenya do not have the provisions that can help them set up their bank accounts in a “language” that they understand.
It wasn’t until two weeks ago when UBA Bank Kenya became the first bank in Kenya to launch a Braille product, a form that enables visually impaired persons to open their bank accounts without being helped and to transact with ease.
This is the first-ever product in Kenya’s Banking sector that comes at a time when there is a revolution in terms of technology within and without the banking sector. UBA Bank now sets the pace for other banks in Kenya that had not even thought of such a thing.
According to UBA Bank Kenya, the UBA Braille product is just a tip of the products and services that the lender has lined up for customers living with disabilities within and without the country.
“I think this is a revolutionary product. I was very happy when u heard of it. There was a time when my cousin withdrew cash from my account when I accompanied him to the bank. My only crime? I could not see,” said Mr. John Mwale, a person with visual impairment at Kahawa Sukari, Kiambu County.