Donate your old smartphone to enable Australia's deafblind community to reconnect

Posted August 29, 2016

Currently, an estimated 288,000 Australians live with no hearing and sight and this number is predicted to rise to over one million by 2050 [1]. MobileMuster and Able Australia are calling on Australians to donate their old smartphones to support the deafblind community and help them to reconnect with family, friends and the wider community, through smartphone technology.

MobileMuster, the official not-for-profit Government accredited mobile phone recycling program, will be collecting unwanted smartphones during the month of September and all eligible smartphones* will be donated to Able Australia to improve the digital literacy of the deafblind community.  The phones will be used to educate people with deafblindness on how to use speech recognition and Braille readers via mobile technology.

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Able Australia's Scott Darkin, says “Deafblindness is very much Australia's forgotten disability. The smartphones donated will help deafblind people stay connected, which is something most of us take for granted. These donated smartphones will also increase their mobility, independence and help them navigate their way around their community.

“Nine out of ten deafblind people will experience depression and anxiety and the simple act of donating an unwanted phone is an easy way to show your support to Australia’s deafblind community. Your old phone could be the vital link that transforms a socially isolated person with deafblindness into an active member of their local community,” he continued.

The impact of mobile technology on Australia’s productivity and workforce participation was the focus of a recent Deloitte Access Economics research report commissioned by The Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA) [2].

“The research found that mobile technology allows people with deafblindness to communicate, engage and interact, thereby improving their daily lives and opportunities to participate in the workforce”, said AMTA’s Chris Althaus.

Australia has over 31 million mobile phone subscribers who, on average, replace their handsets every 18 to 24 months.

Spyro Kalos from MobileMuster says, “We know there are approximately 25.5 million unused mobiles sitting in homes and business around Australia, some of these may be smartphones that could help the deafblind community. Now is the perfect time to donate your unwanted mobile phone to a great cause.

“Each smartphone will be checked to confirm it is working and any data left of the phone will be wiped to ensure privacy. MobileMuster will also ensure that any mobiles and accessories that can’t be reused will be recycled by MobileMuster in a safe, secure and ethical way, with all data being destroyed in the recycling process,” he affirmed.

You can donate an unwanted smartphone free of charge from anywhere in Australia by simply downloading the free reply paid label. For more information and to download the label, click here.

*Smartphone eligibility: Able Australia requests that smartphones should be operational and be in good condition (no cracked screens). Ideally, iPhone 4 and above, Samsung Galaxy S4 and above, LG Nexus 7 and above and Nokia Lumia 540 and above. Include the charger if you have one but this is not essential. Please turn off and remove the device from Find My iPhone app or the Android equivalent and erase your content and settings.  

[1] Access Economics (2010),Making Sense: The economic impact of dual sensory impairment and multiple disabilities commission by Able Australia.

[2] Deloitte Access Economics (2016), Mobile nation: Driving workforce participation and productivity commissioned by the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA).