Voices of people with disabilities
Eight people with disabilities now have an opportunity to voice their issues using community multimedia centres (CMCs) in Nepal after a recent training workshop on audio production and new technologies.
Of the eight participants, five were visually impaired and the remaining three were physically challenged. The training is part of UNESCO's Global CMC Pilot project, which aims to innovate combinations of new and traditional technologies as means to increase access to information, knowledge and opportunities for expression in the applications for poverty reduction.
The three-day workshop was held at Lumbini CMC in Manigram, a part of Rupandehi District in Western Nepal. "Voices of people with disabilities must be heard to create social inclusion and development. This is only possible if people like me are given an opportunity to express our issues in our own voice," says Prahlad, a blind student from Damkada Secondary School in adjacent district of Palpa.
The majority of those present were of the opinion that the programme should address issues of people with disabilities and on how information and knowledge could be used as a tool to create awareness among people with disabilities. At the end of the training, the group produced two half-hour audio programmes. The overall plan and objective of the programme was designed based on participant feedback and guidance from the resource people involved during the training period.
Following the training, participants will broadcast new radio programmes called "Voice of the Disabled" in their respective CMCs: Lumbini in Rupandehi and Madanpokhara in Palpa Districts of Nepal. The programmes will be broadcast once a week for half an hour and will be produced by people with disabilities with some technical assistance from the centre staff. The telecentre in Damkada Secondary School, one of four recently established satellite telecentre facilities in Palpa as part of the Madanpokhara CMC, will also be used for production of this programme alongside basic computer training and other secretarial services.
In May 2005, the CMC Lumbini began three months courses of basic computing skills and internet training for speech and hearing impaired people. The CMCs aims to increase accessibility to ICTs to people with disabilities and help them operate computers with adapted equipment.
Story contributed by Karma Tshering, Coordinator, Nepal CMC project