Microsoft Qatar, located at the Qatar Science and Technology Park, along with Mada Assistive Technology Center (Mada) today announced that they had successfully completed Phase 1 of the Imkaan programme aimed at benefitting people with disabilities in Qatar through information technology.
Both partners have worked together to provide digital literacy materials to people with disabilities while training the IT community in Qatar on accessibility standards. The goal of the Digital Literacy pillar under the Imkaan programme is to teach and assess basic computer concepts and skills to support the use of computer technology in everyday life to develop new social and economic opportunities for individuals with special needs, their families, and their communities.
The curriculum will help them to develop the essential skills they need to begin computing with confidence and develop a fundamental understanding of computers. This includes basics like using the Internet, how to send e-mail, creating a résumé among other activities. The Microsoft Digital Literacy curriculum comprises of three levels starting with the Microsoft Digital Literacy Basic curriculum, Microsoft Digital Literacy Standard curriculum and the Microsoft Digital Literacy Advanced curriculum.
Naim Yazbeck, Country Manager, Microsoft Qatar said: "Providing easier access to the latest technology is vital in order to enable broad digital inclusion for people with disabilities. We are also leveraging our experience worldwide where Microsoft has been successfully working to increase the level of digital skills of the population in general and specifically to empower people with disabilities. With the successful completion of Phase 1, we are ready to move quickly on activating the remaining components of this programme along with Mada to provide a supportive environment for them to facilitate greater social and workplace integration.
"ICT is a key tool in Qatar’s efforts to help people with disabilities. As we increasingly understand the realities of everyday life for them in Qatar, we have been able to make quick progress to provide the basic foundation of skills and knowledge for them under the Imkaan programme, “ said David Banes, Deputy CEO of Mada Assistive Technology Center. “We are already seeing the impact generated by the inclusion of this digital curriculum in English and Arabic with the increase in confidence levels and increased desire to do even more.”
The Imkaan initiative aims to raise awareness around the potential of technology in creating opportunities for people with disabilities at work, school, and in social settings. The joint collaboration, named after the Arabic word for ‘possibility’, kicked off in May 2011 and plans are to finalise many more projects before the end of the year.