It’s no secret the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted a lot of people even more so with the shift towards remote work forcing people to rapidly adopt the internet and it’s services for both school and work.
This has not spared persons with disabilities who seem to be underrepresented in this shift with many concerns having been raised before on the compatibilities of ICT gadgets to be easily used by this special group.
Gadgets that are made specifically for persons with disabilities are not readily available and have additional costs associated with them, hence this has made many companies and organizations just provide what other general people use.
Mobile device manufacturers have added some features that include Visual or vibrating alerts, relay services and hearing aid compatible devices that make mobile phones accessible for the deaf and hard of hearing with features such as voice recognition and auto text being needed by those with physical disabilities. Unfortunately these features come at a cost which makes the devices out of reach for many.
Internet Society Zimbabwe has embarked on a digital skills training for persons with disability as a way of reducing inequalities by preparing them for the digital economy. These skills include graphics and website designing focusing on this special group as many of them who are physically challenged are able to use computers have shown key interest in the program.
Internet Society Zimbabwe partnered with Leonard Cheshire and trained a group of 12 young persons with disability on digital skills. ISOC Zimbabwe Project Officer Mr Rangarirai Mangundu said:
“There is need to reduce inequalities and prepare persons with disability for the digital economy as they must not be left behind as the global world is leveraging on Internet”
“We seek to expand this initiative to include those in marginalised communities, the internet is for everyone and especially those that are disabled as technology may address their needs better”Leonard Cheshire Programs Officer
ISOC Zimbabwe President Zimbabwe Mr Jasper Mangwana emphasized the need for collaborations:
“There is need for a more coordinated approach in the inclusion of persons with disability, government is playing a very progressive role as we have seen the launch of the Disability Policy and also the role POTRAZ is playing for this community but more can be done with business and civic society in the picture”
The Digital skills training program is running under the theme “Internet and Inclusion of Persons with Disability” and you can find out more by clicking here.