Gift of innovative technologies to CNIB marks Global Accessibility Awareness Day

TORONTO, May 9, 2013 /CNW/ - Two innovative companies have provided generous gifts to the CNIB community that will help improve accessibility for Canadians who are blind or partially sighted.

Montreal-based HumanWare, which was recently awarded CNIB's 2013 Winston Gordon Award of Excellence in Accessible Technology for their Victor Reader Stream, is donating 25 of the award-winning devices to CNIB to distribute among children who are CNIB Library clients who could not otherwise afford the technology.

The Victor Reader Stream is a portable digital book player that enables people who are blind or partially sighted to read digital reference manuals, school books, novels, magazines, unprotected MP4files and Word documents. Lightweight, portable and equipped with wireless networking capabilities, it represents a significant advancement over previous audio book devices.

"We're excited to provide these devices to Canadians in the CNIB community," said Gilles Pepin, CEO, HumanWare. "It's inspiring to see innovations like our Victor Reader Stream come to life and make a real difference in people's everyday lives."

This generous donation has been matched by AfterShokz, who will provide their unique open ear headphones, which transmit sound through the cheekbones via bone conduction technology, that allow users to listen without blocking their ears. For people who are blind or partially sighted, the open design of these headphones is ideal, allowing the user to remain aware of ambient sound and stay acutely in touch with their surroundings, even when wearing hearing aids

"It gives us great pleasure to be able to support HumanWare's donation by matching their support and enhancing their gift," said Rob Nevin, founder of U-R-Able, which represents the AfterShokz brand for persons who are blind and deaf-blind in North America.

"Digital technology has the capacity to level the playing field and open doors for people who are blind or partially sighted," said John M. Rafferty, President and CEO, CNIB. "It is encouraging to see companies like HumanWare and AfterShokz are so committed to innovation, and to making a difference. Their generous donations are truly appreciated."

Global Accessibility Awareness Day aims to raise the profile of digital accessibility for people living with vision loss and other disabilities. To better understand the need for digital innovations like these, Global Accessibility Awareness Day is encouraging people to use their computers differently today. They suggest turning off your screens or speakers, or unplugging your mice, and continuing your work.

About Global Accessibility Awareness Day
Now in its second year, Global Accessibility Awareness Day aims to raise the profile of digital (web, software, mobile, etc.) accessibility for people living with vision loss and other disabilities.  For more information, follow @GblA11yDay on Twitter and use the #gaad hashtag, or visit their website.

About CNIB
CNIB is a registered charity, passionately providing community-based support, knowledge and a national voice to ensure Canadians who are blind or partially sighted have the confidence, skills and opportunities to fully participate in life. To learn more, visit or call the toll-free CNIB Helpline at 1-800-563-2642.

Video with caption: "Video: CNIB presents the Winston Gordon Award of Excellence in Accessible Technology to Humanware in Toronto, March 21, 2013.". Video available at:

Image with caption: "HumanWare is Presented with CNIB Accessible Technology Award (CNW Group/CNIB)". Image available at:


For further information:

Carolyn Young
Specialist, Corporate Communications
416-486-2500 ext. 8355

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