Authentic Inclusion: Assistive Technology to Transform the Lives of Low Vision & Blind People Islandwide
BY ANTIGUA COMPUTER TECHNOLOGY (VIA ACT BLOG)
In a study by WHO, about 15% of the world’s population lives with some form of a disability. The estimated number of visually impaired people in the world is 285 million, 39 million blind and 246 million with low vision; 65 % of visually impaired people and 82% of all those who are blind are 50 years and older.
Authentic Inclusion says that every individual, regardless of their ability, disability, or health care needs, should be valued as an important member of our community. Authentic Inclusion shifts our society’s perspective from the belief that inclusion is a basic human right, to the belief that inclusion is, in fact, a value for all. Everyone in society benefits from inclusion – whether it be yourself as one with a disability, the parents of the disabled, employers, co-workers, peers in school, members of government – everyone in society. At Antigua Computer Technology (ACT), we believe that authentic inclusion is an important part of societal improvement. Our three pillars of community support are “Education, Professional Development, and Authentic Inclusion.” It is in these three key areas where we channel most of our social impact resources when striving towards our mission of “bringing our community into the future.”
As Blindness Awareness is recognized during the month of October and based on the UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) #4, ACT too wants to ensure inclusion and equitable quality education for all. In collaboration with The Carroll Center for the Blind and the New England Low Vision & Blindness, ACT joins in donating 15 different types of life-changing assistive technology devices to the TN Kirnon Unit for the Blind & Visually Impaired. These devices will improve the lives of the visually impaired students of Antigua and also benefit professionals, the elderly and others as one or two of the devices will be featured at the public library.
These assistive technology devices are 7 table top magnifiers, some of which are portable, 5 portable handheld magnifiers, and 3 texts to speech devices. These devices enlarge print to any size and can convert text to speech. The devices are specifically designed to assist the visually impaired and to make information more accessible. Andrew Doumith, Business Development Manager at ACT, quotes Dr. Aubrey Benson, the UN Ambassador for Antigua & Barbuda, in his remarks at the handover ceremony event – “Technology for people with disabilities is like the wheel is for mankind.”
With this donation, ACT aims to upgrade the TN Kirnon Unit for the Blind & Visually Impaired – making it even more attractive to all students. This will encourage low vision and blind students from primary and secondary schools to learn with the help of assistive technologies under the guidance of well-trained instructors.
View coverage of the assistive technology donation below: