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Adaptive Technology Centre for the Blind
Institution: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
International Telecommunication Union
Theme: Institution and HR Management
Implementation Date: Jan 01, 2000
Summary: The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) established a computer training centre in Ethiopia – the Adaptive Technology Centre for the Blind – to assist the blind and visually impaired to gain access to ICTs. A non-profit resource, this information technology centre supports the needs of visually impaired students and professionals through the use of computer training and the Braille Transcriber Centre.

The Adaptive Technology Centre for the Blind and ITU will provide the training, equipment and software for the visually impaired, while UNESCO will supply training and materials on curriculum development. In addition, the Centre will make available administrative and professional staff and provide the project office with the necessary facilities and transport. As part of the project, a course for trainers and students will be conducted at five technical schools across Ethiopia. Those who can afford to participate in the project or their sponsors will be charged a moderate training fee. Proceeds from the sale of Braille publications such as training manuals, newspapers and other materials as well as fees and charges from individuals and organizations will also contribute to sustaining the initiative.

Impact: In Ethiopia, the latest census indicates that there are well over 500,000 blind people in the country. The computer training centre will aid the visually impaired to be trained and develop new skills that will enable them to enjoy a better quality of life. It will also open up the Internet to a previously untapped market in Ethiopia.

Producing Braille by computerized embossers saves both time and energy. Moreover, embossers are equipped with graphic programmes, enabling the Braille readers to visualize objects and thereby form clear mental images of the real world under their fingertips, something that was not possible earlier. As one visually impaired user of the Adaptive Technology Centre for the Blind said, “I don’t have sight. However, I have vision.”

Source: ITU and UNESCO
Project Home URL: http://www3.sympatico.ca/tamru/

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