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Community Projects 27 April 2015

Orienting the visually impaired towards Information Technology

Betel Hailu
By Betel HailuManager, Organization Members Engagement

On 16 April 2015, Together! Ethiopian Residents Charity Organization , working on disability mainstreaming and empowering persons with visual impairment in Ethiopia by providing holistic support in the fields of rehabilitation, academic education, vocational and technical training job and self employment, has inaugurated an inclusive Resource Center for all persons with disability.

Supported by the Community Grants of the Internet Society (where Together! received USD 10,000 in 2014) the inclusive Resource Center, which falls under the Orient and Rouse the Blind with Information Technology (ORBIT) project, has been established to fulfill the educational as well as entertainment needs of all persons with disabilities.

Located in a beautiful garden of the Northern part of Addis Ababa, the inclusive Resource Center has around 20 computers, which are already being used by disabled people from within the community, especially those with visual impairment. According to the project Manager Mr. Tilahun Wondimu, the Center will enable all people with disabilities to get unlimited access to the available resources in the library including free of charge 3 MB Internet access as well various educational Braille and audio materials.

Together! Ethiopian Residents Charity Organization in cooperation with its partners carries various other important activities, which are of great value to the society in which people with visual impairment are given the chance to equally participate in the realm of education and sustainable employment. Some of these activities include:

  • Providing means for rehabilitation, education and job integration
  • Engaging in disability-mainstreaming, awareness-raising and networking
  • Addressing poverty as a societal consequence of disability

As part of its effort to promote persons with visual impairment in Ethiopia, Together! Ethiopian Residents Charity Organizationhas been successful in providing relevant IT trainings to 15 visually impaired people who are now engaged in teaching high school students with similar disabilities. Furthermore, out of 12 visually impaired people selected for a second round IT training, 6 have been able to pass the Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) computer skill test, qualifying for a job. The organization encourages visually impaired women to benefit from its trainings and for this purpose has established a rehabilitation center with 5-6 bedrooms, where visually impaired mothers can stay with their kids for life trainings.

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photo: © Wubakal Tesfaye 
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Disclaimer: Viewpoints expressed in this post are those of the author and may or may not reflect official Internet Society positions.

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