Coffee-maker for the blind wins pupils Brazil trip

2015-04-24 00:00

AGAINST ten other teams of able-bodied pupils, Arthur Blaxall School claimed top spot at the Techno-girls Entrepreneurship Programme.

A team of ten girls, all visually impaired, were tasked to come up with a unique and innovative product. They had to draft a business plan to present to a panel of judges. They came up with the idea of a personalised coffee machine which works with hand print and voice recognition, to identify the user and provide their favourite coffee blend, with Braille-encrypted buttons for ease of use for the blind.

The girls, who represented the uMgungundlovu District at Durban’s Olive Convention Centre, had just three weeks to put the business plan together. Arthur Blaxall School acting principal Anusuyah Pillay said she was both proud and excited for her young entrepreneurs, who will be attending the Small Business Development Budget Vote in Cape Town next month.

From the team of ten, Snentokoza Ngcobo (16) and Samkelisiwe Mbeje (18) were chosen for an extra prize — a trip to Brazil for a global summit of women representatives from all over the world.

Speaking to The Witness yesterday, Samkelisiwe, a Grade 11 pupil at the school, said she is excited to be going to Brazil next month. “It is a wonderful feeling. I never thought we would win the competition since we were competing with other able-bodied kids from mainstream schools,” she said.

Snentokoza, who is in Grade 10, said she has never been on a plane before. “I’m both excited and a little scared. I just can’t believe I was chosen,” she said.

The two will be joined by Pillay and their school teacher, Anusha Bhakam.

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