In 2018, World Access For The Blind (WAFTB)/Visioneers won the Zero Project Award 2018 on #Accessibility. It was named one of 68 Innovative Practices out of 317 nominees worldwide. Later than same year, World Access For The Blind was referenced in the United Nations Flagship Report on Disability and Development which was released on the International Day of Persons with Disabilities.
As part of his keynote presentation at #ZeroCon18 at the United Nations Headquarters in Vienna , Austria, WAFTB/Visioneers Founder and President Daniel Kish told the story of a young boy who almost died at the age of eight, and whose recovery was being hampered by the very support system that was supposed to help him.
His name is Danyl Martelli, and in 2014 he was nominated as an Unsung Hero as part of the Young Scots Awards, Here’s what they wrote about him at the time: “Having been left blind suddenly from a young age, 18 year old Danyl Martelli from Uddingston has been doing all he can to make life better for others. His charitable nature has seen Danyl raise hundreds of pounds for Help for Heroes through a sponsored walk in addition to dying his hair pink for the charity. Often found writing songs and poems on losing his sight, his brother in the army and stories in the news, Danyl insists that it’s about being standing up and being counted and being ambitious.”
And here’s what Daniel Kish had to say about him in the video below:
THE STORY OF DANYL, USER OF THE TONGUE-CLICKING TECHNIQUE, WRITING TO WORLD ACCESS FOR THE BLIND
“A few weeks later I was using the little vision I had, together with the white cane and echo location.”
“My name is Danyl and I am 12 years old. I was a normal kid, running around with my friends and biking through the nearby hills, until one day, when I was eight, I woke up in the middle of the night. It was hard to breathe so I woke my dad and he phoned an ambulance. The last thing I said was: “I’m dying, dad! I’m dying!” I was on life support for several weeks, and for months afterwards I was completely blind and couldn’t walk at all.
The first week of school in August 2007, three years later, you brought Kerrie and Alex to my primary school. They were blind too, and I think you were training them to be teachers like you. By then, I still didn’t really know a lot about what had happened to me. When you guys first told me what you were about, I honestly thought you were joking. But by the end of the first day, I thought what you guys taught me was brilliant! A few months later, when you and Alex came back to my school, I had practiced my click and was able to do it properly, and I was using the hiking stick and learning the basics of the white cane. I found it really hard at first mixing all three – clicking, walking with the hiking stick, and using the cane. But when you and Alex returned again the next summer, I was surprised by how much walking and clicking we practiced, and I found it became easier.
A few weeks later, I was a lot more confident. When I first came around in the hospital and I really wanted to walk and see again, I didn’t think that all of this would be done for me. Now I definitely think I will be able to walk again and know my ability to see is improving, so I am really, really happy with all the help that I’ve received.”
Read more about Daniel’s work with Danyl on his visits to Scotland in the article “Flash Forward“.
Learn more about how World Access for the Blind has created a technique that helps the blind and visually impaired to use their own ‘human sonar’ to perceive their surroundings at this factsheet.