With permission from the Forward Steps Mobility - Blindness and Low Vision Services www.forwardstepsmobility.com.au we are publishing this heartwarming story:



Forward Steps Mobility's (FSM) services assist clients from a person-centered approach, giving each individual support to grow in confidence in every area of life. With sincere understanding of every unique situation that a client goes through, FSM supports those challenges that come with it, from a heart level. Late last year Forward Steps Mobility, along with Kushal Solanki, had a unique opportunity to connect with various Lions Clubs within the northern and southern parts of the Gold Coast and Mount Tambourine areas. This collaborative effort was to make a proposal around discussing the possibility of how the clubs could provide funding, given through donation, assisting with the purchase of a Braille Sense 6 Notetaker. With Kushal’s circumstances, he has been unable to have the support of the National Disability Insurance Scheme’s (NDIS’s) government funding. Thus, with community spirit and determination to make this project happen successfully, the aim was to give Kushal the ability to have equipment provided to assist him in having the same inclusive opportunities, with equality.

Two meetings were held where Kushal was able to communicate the importance that a Braille Notetaker like this would give, and how it would help him in his everyday life. Kushal did so well in presenting key points around how this device would support him with everyday tasks, and enhance his independence with the use of Braille technology, which is also his passion. During these meetings, a similar device was shown. This gave a better understanding of what this device looked like in its physical form, as it was similar to what the Braille Sense 6 Notetaker looked like. It was a great opportunity for the present Lions Club members to experience Kushal’s passion, as he shared from the heart his extensive knowledge on Braille technology. He was able to explain what all the features were, and described how this would support him in opening doors to explore the possibilities of doing adaptive technology training, supporting others, to help them learn how to use the Braille Sense 6 alongside other devices.

With the device being so responsive and having up to date software, Kushal also spoke of how excited he would be to have the efficiency of doing basic everyday things such as emails and note taking. He also looked forward to exploring the device’s new features like, Google Drive, OneDrive and DropBox integration, and being able to play around with android apps and test accessibility from the device directly. Also, with his talented musical abilities, Kushal spoke of how he would be able to record using USB microphones, which he was really looking forward to.

After such an amazing attendance in both meetings and a few challenges along the way, we waited with excitement and in great anticipation, which looked promising by the openness of how each person engaged with Kushal’s presentation…..

So, with this, with the generosity of heart of all the board members of each club, we were all so excited to hear the news that Kushal received a full funding donation of the Braille Sense 6 Notetaker! Incredible!! How could we not celebrate such an amazing journey! Last Saturday, whilst we were eating lunch at a delicious Indian restaurant, Kushal was presented with a wrapped box that contained the Braille Sense 6 Notetaker inside. What a special moment to witness Kushal unwrapping the box, which he held it up with the biggest smile on his face. Such joy filled our hearts as he received such a valuable piece of equipment. Not only did we have the honour of celebrating this amazing gift of donation, but Kushal also informed us that he has just found a new job! What incredible timing! Kushal is now also able to use this device in his role as a Test Analyst working for NSW Department of Customer Service. Within his brand-new position, Kushal will be testing software within government spaces and able to make use of Braille within his role, and connect with his computer using the Braille Sense 6 as a Braille display.

Along this journey, Kushal has expressed from the heart how much he really enjoyed this experience and thankfulness towards everyone who donated. He is so grateful to those who attended the Lions Club meetings and had such an open perspective to learn about the equipment with such a willingness to ask questions. He felt so welcomed by numerous clubs, including Coomera, Helensvale, Tambourine Village, Robina and others from northern and southern districts. Presenting to some of the southern regional clubs at the Mermaid Waters Hotel also saw him enjoying a very positive, receptive and supportive environment.

Kushal, on behalf of Forward Steps Mobility, congratulations!! Well done on your confidence in delivering such a great presentation. Without your valuable knowledge that you gave, making others aware of not only Braille and how it’s used through technology, but also the importance of the use of technology from someone who is blind or has low vision; you were an instrumental part of this exciting journey. And now, stepping into a brand-new role with a brand-new device, we wish you all the best on this exciting adventure in your new season. Every blessing!