Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Visually impaired people are trained in technology

A MANILA-BASED training program that teaches the visually impaired how to operate computers and access the Internet using a text-to-speech application may soon be reaching the cities of Davao and Cebu, its organizers said.

Mayette Regala, chief coordinator for the six-year old Computer Eyes program, said partners and potential investors for the regional expansion were still being sought.

At least 60 visually impaired individuals have graduated from the program, she said.

The training program makes use of a text-to-speech application known as JAWS or Job Access with Speech.

JAWS reads aloud the contents of a webpage or an open desktop application. Visually impaired users press pre-programmed hotkeys to move the cursor, instead of a mouse.

"We have a lot of ground to cover especially for other visually-impaired individuals in the provinces. Computer Eyes is a very good program to give the visually impaired opportunities and make them productive members of the society,"

Regala said.

In this year's Computer Eyes, about six of the 20 participants are from areas outside Manila.Computer Eyes is a joint project of Resource for the Blind, Inc,, IBM Philippines and Overbrook-Nippon Network on Technology. For the last six years it has been conducted at the IBM office in Libis, Quezon City.


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