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  • Doug Brendel

A Talking Stick?

Updated: Sep 6, 2019


Greetings! I’m still smiling about the magnifier we provided for the 102 blind and visually impaired children at Molodzyechna in Belarus 🙂 But now there’s a way we could help the blind children move around the school — or anywhere.

Blind people often use a walking stick — but now there’s a “talking stick.” It’s not really a stick at all — it’s a lightweight pocket-sized electronic device that runs on a pair of regular AAA batteries. It uses ultrasonic waves to sense what’s ahead — more than 9 feet ahead.

Then it warns the child of the obstacle! Or — if the area is too noisy (or hush-hush quiet, like a church or a museum) — it can communicate by vibration only. (It also comes with optional headphones.)

The talking stick can see better than you or I! And there’s an “escape” mode that helps the child find small gaps, narrow passages, to get through even a crowded room or other congested area.

There are too many blind children at the school to provide a talking stick for all of them. But if the boarding school had 10 units, they could train all the children to use them — and then provide talking sticks on an “as needed” basis — like when they take the children out on field trips and the like.

A single talking stick, at the current rate of exchange, costs $373.92. I wonder if you would like to help us provide one of these. Not many of us could give $373.92, but maybe you could go halfway, with a gift of $186.96. Or three friends could give $124.64. Or four could give $93.48.

Of course, whatever you give will make a huge difference for a blind child, and the 95 workers who are giving their lives to care for them. I would love to surprise the children at Molodzyechna with this amazing gift when I return to Belarus. But I depart on May 14th, which doesn’t give us much time.

So please let me know right away what you feel you can do by then. And I thank you, from my heart. (If you want to go back in time and experience our very first visit to this school, here it is.)

Much love, Doug Brendel

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