Visual impairment is no barrier to learning computer skills, as eight Chittagong University students are discovering.
The visually impaired students are currently undertaking a six month long computer training course with Young Power in Social Action (YPSA). This training is generously funded by Transcom Beverages Ltd. YPSA and Transcom are working to improve access to ICT systems for vision impaired students.
YPSA Program Manager and person with a vision impairment Vashkar Bhattacharjee is overseeing the training. He has headed several advocacy campaigns within Bangladesh for investment in ICT facilities and skills for people with a disability.
“Training such people to use ICT will enrich their ICT knowledge, their ability to use the internet, their reading of daily newspapers, their use of ‘Digital Talking Books’, their ability to search job information and will also help them to acquire the skills needed to do certain work. The objective of training is to increase ICT literacy and employability of people with a disability,” he said.
The students have embraced the chance to learn and are enthusiastic about the course and the future opportunities it may offer.
“I knew people who used computers and always wanted an opportunity to learn how to use a computer myself but until now never was given the opportunity,” one student said.
“At first I did not know what a computer looked like or how one might operate it. Now that I have managed to learn some things about using computers I feel certain I can overcome the barriers to successfully learning other things in using the computer,” another student added.
The trainers are passionate about their teaching stating “as vision impaired people ourselves we know the difference computer literacy has made to our lives”.
A further 8 vision impaired students of Chittagong University will undertake a repeat training commencing in July 2011. This training is also funded by Transcom.