Hong Kong Charity Drive To Collect 1,000 Old iPhones for Blind People Gets Just One Donation

A charitable foundation’s effort to help gather 1,000 used iPhones in Hong Kong and China to aid the visually impaired is not doing very well. So far, the group has collected a just one used iPhone.

Jabbok Charitable Foundation chairman and campaign organizer Edward Yip Bing-chiu said a lot of people were surprised to know how smartphones can be beneficial to blind people. In partnership with Barrier Free Access, a subsidiary of the Hong Kong Society for the Blind, Yip hoped to divide the collected iPhones between Hong Kong and mainland China beneficiaries, reports South China Morning Post.

A survey conducted on 126 blind people by Jabbok revealed that 72% of them used a smartphone and 60% used voice readback functions. In total, Hong Kong has about 174,800 visually impaired citizens.

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Yip showed at a press conference on Tuesday how some apps benefit his particular segment of the population. Yip, who is blind himself, said that certain functionalities can aid a blind person outside the house, especially the navigational tools and their readback functions, which both iPhones and Android devices have.

Unfortunately, the drive has yet to take off as the group has only received one phone for their campaign. Yip himself paid for 50 iPhones to aid his training programme for the visually impaired young people in mainland China.

Barrier Free Access manager Navy Hui said the reason people are unwilling to let go of their old iPhones is that even older models are still considered high value commodities in Hong Kong and China and can still be sold at a high price.

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Hong Kong native Matthew Ho Lok-hin is among the blind who have benefited from using the iPhone. “There have been many times when the bus driver just forgot to tell me that it was my stop, and I completely missed it,”  Lok-hin told SCMP. With the help of the iPhone, he was able to travel better and felt a lot safer. 

Lin Wing-chee, who is near-blind, uses a variety of iPhone functions to help her daily. From listening to e-books to cooking and traveling, her iPhone has transformed her life immensely. “It’s very versatile. Even if I’m on the tram I can use my iPhone to do work,” she said.

Looks like the team could use some help from those Chinese who have been getting rid of their iPhones for “patriotic” reason. Patriots or not, anyone can still send their donations by contacting Matthew Ho at 3971 8100 or emailing them via: [email protected]

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