Joint initiative launched to empower disabled people to use IT.
Microsoft and MADA Assistive Technology Centre have together formed “Imkaan”, a programme that brings the benefits of information technology to disabled people in Qatar.
The joint collaboration, named after the Arabic word for possibility, will facilitate greater digital inclusion to people with disabilities through provision, education and innovation. The initiative will also aim to raise awareness around the potential of technology in creating opportunities for people with disabilities at work, school, and in social settings.
Mr Mohammad Hamoudi, Country Manager, Microsoft Qatar, said: “Empowering people through the use of technology and providing the opportunity to do so is something Microsoft is committed to, and by joining up with MADA Assistive Technology Centre we are able to better empower disabled people in the country. With the Centre’s extensive work in Qatar and the organisation’s relationship with the disabled community, we have been able to place the technology that will provide new opportunities for maximum accessibility. Training of IT professionals on ensuring access to ICT for all is also core to aiding the initiative to reach the largest number of people.”
“MADA Assistive Technology Centre works to provide assistive technology solutions for people with disabilities, and by working in collaboration with Microsoft it means we can deliver even more complete solutions,” said David Banes, Deputy CEO of MADA Assistive Technology Centre. “We have a vision of a world with ICT for all, and with support from Microsoft we can help make this come more of a reality in Qatar. Not only will the initiative help on an immediate level, but the innovation and development elements will also help to build a continued solid core for ICT for people with disabilities for the future too.”
The project is set to comprise four essential pillars to achieve its goal:
Community Support: Placement of technologies, such as Microsoft® Surface™, Microsoft® Lync™, Microsoft® SharePoint™, Kinect and Windows Live Messenger in various environments including the MADA Assistive Technology Centre resource centre and Hamad Medical Corporation facilities to connect people with disabilities to the world of ICT.
Capacity Building: Providing digital literacy materials to the disabled community while training the IT community in Qatar on accessibility standards.
Empowerment: Addressing the personal technological needs of disabled individuals by providing Microsoft software to people with disabilities in Qatar, providing technical support and encouraging the disabled to embrace technology without the concerns of financial barriers.
Innovation: Applying research and development initiatives within Qatar in the field of assistive technologies while opening new areas of capacity development for the student and workforce community in Qatar.