HPM launched ‘Accessible Dictionary’ for all

BANGLADESH, INDIA:Accessible Dictionary’ (http://accessibledictionary.gov.bd/) is Bangladesh’s first dictionary specially developed for the persons with visual, print and learning disability and information disadvantaged groups; yet, beneficial for over 5 million students with/out disabilities.

At the inauguration: Honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Kabir Bin Anwar, Mr. Anir Chowdhury, Mesbah Uddin Ahmed, Md. Afzal Hossain Sarwar, Purabi Matin, Md. Rafiqul Islam, Vashkar Bhattacharjee were present among others.

At the inauguration of the Accessibility Dictionary

On the 1st February, at this year’s Amar Ekushey Book Fair, the Honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated a2i’s newly developed ‘Accessible Dictionary’. At the inauguration program, Director General (admin) of Prime Minister’s Office and Project Director of a2i Programme, Kabir Bin Anwar; Policy Advisor of Access to Information (a2i) Programme’s under the Prime Minister’s Office, Mr. Anir Chowdhury; World Literature Center’s Additional Director, Mesbah Uddin Ahmed; a2i’s Policy Specialist (Educational Innovation) Md. Afzal Hossain Sarwar; a2i’s HDM production Manager Purabi Matin; a2i’s Technology Expert Md. Rafiqul Islam; a2i’s accessibility consultant and GAATES 2nd Vice President Vashkar Bhattacharjee were present, among others.

The Accessible Dictionary is based on the creative and innovative idea which utilizes existing technological prospects and open sourced technology to raise awareness and reduce the exclusion and discrimination that currently exists. It is available for all, cost effective, requires less time and is universally designed so that all can have an easy full-access experience.

Bangladesh became a signatory and a ratifying party to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) in 2007 declaring non-discrimination, full and effective participation and inclusion in society, and accessibility, among others. It is a milestone for the journey to universal accessibility that Bangladesh understands and recognizes as a precondition to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): the core agenda “leaving no one behind”, and inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong learning opportunities for all (SDG 4). This is an indicator of child, disability and gender sensitive education facilities; and safe, non-violent, inclusive and effective learning environments for all (Target 4.a).

The dictionary has been developed by a social development organization, YPSA, with overall support from a2i’s Service Innovation Fund. a2i believes that such innovations are vital in improving language proficiency of students and help achieve the government’s vision of making education accessible for all.

‘Accessible Dictionary‘ is available for all online and offline, in both web and mobile app formats; also in Bangla-to-Bangla, Bangla-to-English, English-to-Bangla, English-to-English versions. They can be read by any screen-reading software and Digital Braille Text allows for easy reproduction of Braille printed versions.


ICT Accessibility and Digital Inclusion in Development Efforts Survey: International Development Stakeholder Feedback Needed

INTERNATIONAL: Global growth of information and communications technology (ICT) initiatives creates unprecedented pathways for cities and countries to improve quality of life and plan for future challenges. Incorporation of ICT accessibility and digital inclusion into development efforts represents a shared opportunity to extend these benefits to all citizens, including people with disabilities and older populations, but challenges remain.

We invite you to take our 10-minute online survey: tell us about opportunities or challenges your organization faces in incorporating ICT accessibility and digital inclusion into development projects financed by a multilateral development bank (MDB) or international development agency. The research will help identify the tools or resources might make it easier to elevate the issue/incorporate ICT accessibility more fully into your work.

Your participation in this study will help create tailored solutions and resources to address digital inclusion and accessibility challenges in a range of fields, lift up examples of successes, and create policy recommendations to be presented at the World Bank Annual Meeting.

Hand completing checklist

About the research:

This research is an effort of the Institute of Urban and Regional Development’s (IURD) Inclusive Cities Lab at the University of California, Berkeley. IURD aims to advance knowledge and practice in ways that make cities and regions economically robust, socially inclusive, and environmentally resourceful, now and in the future. Research efforts are led by Dr. Victor Pineda, an international disability rights advocate and president of the Global Alliance on Accessible Technologies and Environments (GAATES).

For questions, please contact Dr. Pineda at victor@worldenabled.org.

The ‘grey’ area for domestic violence victims who have a disability

CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA: A disabled woman tried to set her Canberra house on fire because her support provider failed to stop abuse from her housemate for over a year.

Click here for the full article


Source: The Canberra Times

Posted with permission.

TRAI releases Consultation Paper on Making ICT Accessible for Persons with Disabilities

NEW DELHI: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has released a consultation paper on “Making ICT Accessible for Persons with Disabilities”

Accessibility icon in place of keyboard keyOver the last two decades, telecommunication and broadcasting services  have become ubiquitous and now reach out to the most remote and underserved  areas empowering millions of people. Telecommunication services also provide the basic underlying infrastructure for providing various services of the economy like banking, education, healthcare and public services etc. Information and communications technology (ICT) is transforming the way agriculture, trade, commerce and transportation is done and future advances in ICTs including mobile broadband, the Internet of Things (IoT), robotics and artificial intelligence. 3-D printing will provide the tools for additional, unprecedented advances in healthcare, education, energy services, agriculture and environmental monitoring and protect ion.

However, Persons with disability (PwDs) are often not able to access these ICT services on account of lack of necessary accessibility features or unaffordable prices of the equipment or due to unavailability of required services to make them compatible for use by such persons. Since access to telecommunication and broadcasting services has become an essential component of economic growth and upliftment of people, it is important that necessary ste ps·-are taken to ensure that PwDs are able to access these services and the barriers that hinder this access are identified and removed. Also, for having an inclusive society in consonance with the basic principles of equality, freedom, justice and dignity of all enshrined in our constitution, it is important that benefits of technological advancement are made available to such persons .

In India the percentage of persons with disabilities to the total population grew from 2.1 3% in 2001 to 2.21% in 2011 with 2.68 crore persons with disabilities in the country. Program such as  “Digital  India” aiming to bring ICTs to the doorstep of every citizen would be fully realized only when this segment of our population is also benefitted from the digital transformation happening in the country.

Though governments, development partners, civil society and  sector  experts  are working together to ensure protection of the rights of persons with disabilities and in  ICT field also there have been developments in aids and assistive  devices  and  services  for  persons with disabilities,  corresponding changes in services or content is yet to come  in  the  country  implying  thereby  that  the benefits of ICT development have not reached fully to  persons with disabilities.  The  Authority is therefore  of the view that additional policy interventions need to be  explored  and  implemented  to address the unique challenges faced by persons with disabilities.

Keeping the above in view, the Authority has suo-motu initiated this consultation paper with the objective to identify key areas where policy interventions are needed to understand the barriers being faced by persons with disabilities in accessing the telecom and broadcasting services so that affirmative actions at policy level in the form of recommendations to the Government or formulation of regulation or advisory to equipment/service providers or a combination of these can be taken.

Written comments/inputs on the issues raised in the consultation paper are invited from the stakeholders by 22.01.2018 and counter comments by 05.02.2018.

For more information, contact at advisorit@trai.gov.in.

Google’s Chrome OS to soon get dictation as an accessibility feature

Google’s Chrome OS will soon get support for dictation as an accessibility feature. Currently the only way you can enable this is through extensions. Google Docs supports this feature on all platforms including Chrome OS. On Chromebooks with Google Play Store support, there could be some Android apps as well. However, with this new feature, dictation will become a built-in feature for Chrome OS.

Google Chrome OSA code change request which indicates that Google’s web-based operating system will soon get support for system-level dictation. System-level dictation will be brought to Chrome OS as an accessibility feature. The commit change request has the following description:

Chrome Story notes that the bug mentioned in this change request is private, so at this point, more details like screenshots are not available. The commit’s description states that dictation will come with a keyboard shortcut.

When this feature is live, users will be able to launch dictation using the keyboard shortcut CTRL + ALT + S. This will most probably require enabling the feature under accessibility settings.

The change request on the Chromium Gerrit hasn’t been merged yet. Therefore, it will take a while to merge the request, add it to the Chrome OS developer channel, then add it as an optional flag, and then finally enable it for all users. So even though users have to wait a lot for the feature as of yet, they can be assured that the feature is expected to eventually make its way to the stable channel of Chrome OS.

Source: Chrome Story


First Seminar on Inclusive ICTs in Dominican Republic

The Global Initiative for Inclusive ICTs (G3ict), jointly with the National Council on Disability (CONADIS) of the Dominican Republic, hosted the “First Seminar on Inclusive Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs)” on August 29-30 in Santo Domingo to promote accessible technologies, in line with the CRPD, in different areas of the Dominican society.

Part of a global series of training programs delivered by G3ict worldwide, the event facilitated the exchange of information and collaboration among key decision-makers in government, organizations of persons with disabilities, businesses, education, and research, in the context of the government-led campaign “República Digital”.  For more information, contact Francesca Cesa Bianchi fcesabianchi@g3ict.org

Advocates Recognised Through Victorian Disability Awards

MELBOURNE: Leading disability advocates from across Victoria have been recognised at an awards ceremony in Melbourne yesterday.

The Victorian Disability Awards formally recognise individuals, teams and organisations that make a difference in the lives of people with disability and who champion equality for all Victorians.

Presenting the awards, Minister for Housing, Disability and Ageing Martin Foley congratulated all 29 finalists on their achievements and thanked them for their tireless efforts to improve outcomes for people with disability.

The inaugural Minister’s Award for Outstanding Leadership is given to an awards finalist who has demonstrated extraordinary leadership as a disability advocate. Dylan Alcott received this award as an elite athlete and media commentator who has recently established an accessibility and training company, Get Skilled Access.

Three people were inducted into the Lifetime Achievement Honour Roll, which recognises exceptional individuals who have made a significant contribution to the disability sector for 20 years or more.

The youngest award winner was Year 12 Brauer College student, Bryce Pace who won the Emerging Leader Award for outstanding work advocating for young people on the autism spectrum – encouraging them to embrace their abilities as well as promoting community inclusion of all people with disability.

This year’s awards had a renewed focus on inclusion, in line with the Andrews Labor Government’s Absolutely Everyone: State Disability Plan 2017-2020, to break down barriers for people with disability, in partnership with business and the community.

The plan also ensures the one million Victorians living with a disability can maximise the benefits of the National Disability Insurance Scheme – Australia’s largest social policy reform since Medicare.

The awards are a joint initiative between National Disability Services and the Department of Health and Human Services, with the finalists selected by a judging panel drawn from Victoria’s disability services.

For the full list of awards recipients, go to dhhs.vic.gov.au/disabilityawards.

Children with autism engage with robots rather than humans, because robots are simple and predictable. Photo: University of Portsmouth

Children with autism engage with robots rather than humans, because robots are simple and predictable. Photo: University of Portsmouth

New pathways to leadership for victorians with disabilities

AUSTRALIA: The Andrews Labor Government is supporting Victorians with a disability to become leaders in their local community.

Minister for Housing, Disability and Ageing Martin Foley today opened applications for a range of scholarships and development opportunities, as part of the Disability Leadership Program.

Run in partnership with Leadership Victoria and the Disability Leadership Institute, the program offers scholarships, mentoring, role shadowing and networking for Victorians with a disability to gain valuable leadership development and training.

The program includes scholarships for a range of leadership courses delivered by Leadership Victoria.

In addition, a number of mentoring and workplace based places are available. Program participants can also apply for a 12 month membership of the national user-led Disability Leadership Institute.

Increasing the voice and representation of people with a disability is a key priority of Absolutely everyone:  state disability plan 2017 – 2020.

“We want to see more people with a disability in leadership positions in our community to help influence change.”

“With greater leadership diversity we are able to see a wider range of talent and experience, better engagement and innovation, good governance and robust decision-making.” said Minister for Housing, Disability and Ageing Martin Foley

“The Williamson Community Leadership Program with Leadership Victoria was a life-changing experience for me and I encourage people to apply to be part of this amazing program.” said Chairperson of the Victorian Disability Advisory Council Colleen Furlanetto.

For more information about the Disability Leadership Program visit www.leadershipvictoria.org/programs/the-disability-leadership-program

Zambia to improve ICT accessibility for persons with disabilities

LUSAKA: Zambia’s information and technology regulator on Tuesday signed a memorandum of understanding with an agency representing people with disabilities aimed at enhancing access to Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) for people with disabilities.

Person with vision disability using computer with braille display and a computer keyboard.The deal will result in the Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA) working with the Zambia Agency for Persons with Disabilities in ensuring equal and unfettered access to ICT services by people with disabilities.

Patrick Mutimushi, acting director-general of the regulator said people with disabilities faced a number of challenges in accessing and using ICTs, a situation he said was against the objective of ensuring equal and unfettered access to ICT services.

According to him, no one should be excluded from using ICT gargets following the global impact of ICTs across all sectors, adding that being excluded from the use of technology implies being shut out not only from the information society but also from accessing essential public services.

Ensuring access to ICTs for people with disabilities was a key element of global, regional and national strategies, he added.

Julien Mwape, chairperson of the Zambia Agency for Persons with Disabilities said the signing of the agreement was an excitement following challenges faced by people with disabilities in accessing and using ICTs.

The collaboration with the regulator was a significant step forward in advancing access to ICTs for people with disabilities, she added.

According to her, people with disabilities need access to ICTs in order to contribute meaningfully to development.

The agreement will allow the two organizations to collaborate on key areas by way of creating a platform where issues and challenges around provision of communication services to people with disabilities will be raised and efforts to resolve them initiated.

It will also encourage the design of accessible ICT products and services among other issues.

Source: Xinhua