Two Days National Workshop on Need for ICT Solutions for Blind Community in Pakistan

Two Days National Workshop on
Need for ICT Solutions for Blind Community in Pakistan
7th-8TH December 2015

ALHAMDULILLAH it is a matter of cordial thanks and appreciation that the secretary of Federal Ministry of Information Technology Mr. Azmat Ranjha and his team in a very first meeting with the delegation of Pakistan Disabled Foundation (PDF) gave the signal of very positive and practical response to our request of support to the program of information Technology for the Blind as an equally competent component of the society which was subsequently resulted finally into the approval of above titled program.

Program was started with the inaugural ceremony presided over by the Secretary Social Welfare Government of Sindh Mr. Shariq Ahmed while Barrister Shahida Jameel eminent Social Worker and formal Federal Ministry of Law and Justice grace the occasion as the Chief Guest. The Chairman PDF Mr. Shahid Ahmed Memon in his address of welcome describe the purpose of program in the light of the full time agenda of Pakistan Disabled Foundation while representative of the funding agency National ICT R&D Fund Mr. Amir Sami highlighted the policy and role of sponsoring agency together with willingness of fullest support to the need of ICT for the Blind with practical vision and steps. All the participants including blind representatives and the representatives of different Universities from of the country participating in the program were introduced.

After tea reception first business session presided over by the Dr. Shahab Siddiqui Dean Faculty of Science in Jinnah University for Women and Dr. Bader Sami Head of the Computer Science Department Karachi University jointly while twenty blind representatives from different part of the country having basic knowledge experience about IT expressed their views under the topic “what we feel and what we need” It is notable that the knowledgeable and commendable expression by blind themselves really inspired the senior professors and sighted subject specialist in the field participating the event.

After lunch break the second business session which was presided over by the Dr. Farzana Sulaiman the educationalist and Miss Shakila Yasmin Vice Chairperson also in charge of the Technology wing of PDF jointly under the titled “what we know and what we need to know”. In this session mostly representatives of the Universities and research institutions share their views and expertise on one hand and on the other they expressed their views about the capabilities of blind participants who inspired them by the expression of themselves. They also desired to utilize their expertise to develop workable software’s for the blind both talking and Braille.

Third business session which was devoted for the demonstration of technology equipment for the blind like Jaws, Duxbury, Smart Brailler, I-phone applications. The demonstration was extremely impressive and inspired even sighted IT experts from different universities.

After Third business session in a special session the representatives of international companies dealing with the language software’s and computerized equipments for the blind namely; Representatives from Duxbury, Freedom Scientific and Perkin Brailler.

The Fourth and Fifth business session were combinely presided over by Dr. Nausheen Shahzad Psychologist and Dr. Faisal Karim from University of Management and Technology Lahore. The demonstration on technology was continued both by the representatives of different universities and blind representatives as well.
After lunch in a 6th business session under title (Role of GO’s and aid giving agencies) was covered by Mr. Shahid memon Chairman Pakistan Disabled Foundation, The representative of ICT R&D fund and Mr. Hassan Murchie of International Aid giving agency South Africa address through online.

In a final business session Mr. Shabbir from Defense University Islamabad summarized the event while Mr. Salman Khalid from GC University Lahore and Ms. Hareem University of Karachi also spoke in the session.

Mean while, the recommendation committee comprised a Dr. Badar University of Karachi was head of the committee, Dr. Saira Saleem from University of Karachi, Ms Ammara from PFFB, Mr. Shabbir from Defence University Islamabad, Mr. Salman Khalid from GC University Lahore, Mr. Ahmed Kareem from UAE completed at work on recommendation.

The concluding ceremony was grace among others by the representative of Director of Special Education and representative of Secretary Social Welfare and Dr. Shahab Siddiqui of Jinnah University for Women. Dr. Nausheen Shahzad Presented the Recommendations while Chairman PDF Mr. Shahid Memon and representative of Special Education Sindh distributed the certificates among the participants. Finally, Chairman PDF Mr. Memon awarded the shield of honor to the honoured guests.

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