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EFC’s ICT Training Centre trains visually impaired in internet surfing PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 27 February 2017 14:03

An extension of the ‘Beyond the Reach’ initiative implemented by the Sri Lanka Chapter of the Internet Society together with The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon’s (EFC) Network on Disability, ‘Surfing the Internet’ project, geared to equip vision impaired persons with internet surfing literacy, was inaugurated at the EFC auditorium recently. The five-day residential programme was conducted by the Head of ICT Training, EFC, Manique Gunaratne at EFC’s recently upgraded ICT Training Centre for Persons with Disabilities.


A group of 15 vision impaired persons including university undergraduates and a few soldiers with physical disabilities from Senapura Camp in Anuradhapura were trained at this residential programme. All participants were awarded certificates of participation at the end of the five-day programme.

"The main objective of this training was to reach marginalized groups of individuals, which the society thinks as ‘not reachable’ and make them empowered to gather information independently to develop their skills and knowledge," noted Head of ICT Training, EFC, Manique Gunaratne.

Commenting on this event, EFC DG/CEO Kanishka Weerasinghe stated that his organization will continue to conduct programmes of this nature and that, "it demonstrates EFC’s commitment to build an inclusive society and promote equal opportunities in employment".

The concept which was conceived by the Sri Lanka Chapter of the Internet Society while serving soldiers with disabilities in the SL Army, is aspired to make life easy for the visually impaired in the country, notes its president, Sagarika Wickramasekera. "Statistics reveal that over 200,000 Sri Lankans are believed to be blind due to various reasons and we hope to make their lives easy by enabling access to information. Most of the local websites do not include the techniques and support for accessibility of vision impaired people," she observed. Under the project, web developers are trained to improve accessibility to the internet by the visually impaired.

Installing internet kiosks with supporting tools for the visually impaired in government institutions such as public libraries and Vidatha centers will enable them to access government-sourced websites easily. "For example if someone wants to get a birth certificate by accessing a government web site where it does not contain support for the visually impaired, kiosks created by this projects will cater to the need without having to depend on others," added Ms. Wickramasekera.

Isuri Ayeshmi, freshly graduated from University of Sri Jayewardenepura who was among the participants of the residential programme found it to be a life-time experience opening doors previously unknown. "As a visually impaired undergraduate it was so difficult for me to surf the internet for my assignments and an exercise of this nature will be of immense value to those in a similar position," says Isuri who further notes that internet literacy enables the visually impaired to browse material such as on-line newspapers, e-books and be more conversant in other relevant techniques such as reading between rows, columns and accessing graphics which would be otherwise inaccessible to them. "The quality of training rendered by Ms. Gunaratne is exceptional," adds Isuri who further notes that training of this nature enables the visually impaired to play a more proactive role in the virtual space. - EFC


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Last Updated on Tuesday, 25 April 2017 14:50