December 16, 2020 – Computers for the Blind (CFTB), a Richardson, Texas-based nonprofit, equips people with vision disabilities nationwide with accessible computers. CFTB receives donated computers and refurbishes them with customized accessibility software. The computers are often sold for less than a couple hundred dollars. Software available for installation includes JAWS, a screen reader, and ZoomText, a screen magnifier developed by Freedom Scientific. CFTB board member Bobby Lakey said, "Obviously, Windows has [products] built into it [...] It's kind of entry-level accessibility. And it has Narrator, which is getting better and better. And it will talk, but it still doesn't do the same things as if you add JAWS or ZoomText or Fusion to the situation."
Lakey himself has been blind since the age of 7. In college, Lakey originally wanted to focus on computer science at the University of North Texas but switched to a business program because of a lack of accessibility in teaching computer science. Lakey does not want others to face the challenges he did. This year, CFTB sold more machines than ever in the nonprofit's history, likely spurred by COVID-19. Lakey said, "When CFTB founder Mr. Langford first started, he might have been selling 30-40 computers a year to individuals. This year and past years, we're up to in the neighborhood of 1,200 to 1,400 computers nationwide a year."
Computers for the Blind's computers are available to any person with a vision disability in the United States, and there are no income or age requirements. Grants may be available. The nonprofit also welcomes donations and volunteers. [Source: Spectrum News 1, Austin]
Texas Nonprofit Retrofitting Computers For The Blind
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