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Four Maui deaf citizens receive tablets with connectivity for more independence

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Deaf citizens Bernard Koko and Leslie Stefurak received tablets with the Ava live transcription app and a video relay app to help them live more independent lives. Photos Courtesy: Maui Economic Opportunity

Aloha Independent Living Hawaiʻi arranged for four deaf clients of the Maui Independent Living Center to obtain cellular-enabled iPads, accessories and one-year of data connectivity to help them live independently.

The recipients Bernard Koko, Leslie Stefurak, William Everett and Mikey Tomita are part of Maui Deaf Friends. They each received a tablet, services, accessories and training — worth about $800 per person — through the Aloha Independent Living Hawaiʻi’s TeleConnect program.

The program promotes digital equity to unserved or underserved members of the disabled community, who lack access to telehealth, social interaction, social services and civic engagement.

The devices were provided to help members maintain connection with each other, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, said TeleConnect project lead Brian Hauser.

The devices are tailored to each individual and include the Ava live transcription application and the video relay app of their choice.

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An American Sign Language interpreter also was provided for pre-training administration, in-person training at the J. Walter Cameron Center and follow-up sessions to help with applications for the Emergency Broadband Benefit (now called the Affordable Connectivity Program).

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For more information about Maui Economic Opportunity’s Maui Independent Living Center, go to www.meoinc.org or contact Nani Watanabe at 808-243-4362.

Aloha Independent Living Hawaiʻi provides an array of independent living services throughout Maui County. For more information on services, please visit their website at www.alohailhawaii.org or call 808-339-7297.

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