Docstoc

February The Inclusive Hub

Document Sample
February The Inclusive Hub Powered By Docstoc
					                                     The International Disability

„Disabled‟ benefit cheat is golf ace (The Sun)

A benefits cheat who pocketed £40,000 in disability handouts after claiming she could barely walk
found herself bunkered by investigators — when she was caught playing FOUR rounds of golf every
week. Mother-of-two Valerie Lewis, 55, was lady captain at her £600-a-year golf club and regularly
played with her fellow club members — yet told welfare officials she was a "virtual prisoner in her own
home" and couldn't walk 50 yards by herself.

She said walking outdoors was "virtually impossible" without support from another person and that
she required help with bathing and getting out of bed. But Lewis was exposed as a cheat when
investigators acting on a tip-off secretly filmed her teeing off and playing in a competition at the 6,618
yard Sutton Hall Golf Club near Runcorn, Cheshire — and loading her golf buggy and clubs in and out
of her car. She then went horse riding the next day. It emerged she had been playing at least four
rounds every week at the club where she was respected as captain of the ladies team.

Lewis, of Runcorn, today pleaded guilty to failing to inform the DWP of changes to her circumstances.
She was given a sentence of 24 weeks in prison suspended for two years and 200 hours unpaid work
at Warrington Crown Court. Judge Stephen Clark told her: "This case brings shame and disgrace on
you. When people read about this in local papers, they will look at you and think, 'What a hypocrite'.
"This is a time when benefits are under severe stress and the future of Disability Living Allowance is in
discussion. Those who cheat the system cheat not only the taxpayer but proper complainants as well.
"You described a way of life that touched everything you did, both socially and privately in 2001. It
was a sorry account presented and in due course you were awarded disability living allowance.

"You made the same application in 2003 and again the same picture was painted of someone
suffering such disability she was almost a prisoner in her own home. "You knew you had to tell the
DWP of any change in your condition but sometime in 2001 it changed and you didn't alert them. "It's
apparent you are an active member of the Sutton Golf Club. You were playing an average of 11 times
a month until 2008, when you started playing an average of 18 times. "You must have been walking
five to six miles each time you played and so you were absolutely presenting a dishonest picture and
effectively became a benefit cheat. "It's somewhat ironic to note that the Sutton Golf Club costs £600
a year. You reached a status in the club as to become Lady Captain."

Lewis, who continues to claim incapacity benefits for her back pain, first claimed Disability Living
Allowance in March 2001, describing how she required help for the most basic physical movements,
claiming that walking outside unaided was "virtually impossible". Prosecutor Charlotte Averton said
the forms filled out by Lewis described that she had difficulty with walking more than 20 metres,
getting out of bed unaided, getting dressed, bathing and tying her own shoes. Miss Averton added:
"She said she was so affected by her condition that she was unable to maintain sufficient grip to
prepare and cut her own food, and that she couldn't bend over to use the oven. "She required cooked
food to be cut up by others. She couldn't do anything for more than a few minutes. She said she was
frustrated that she was unable to lead an independent life."

On 14 July 2001 she underwent a medical examination to support her claims of suffering from
spondylitis, an inflammation of the vertebra, and was unable to walk more than 140 yards. Counsel
said: "On the day of her assessment in July 2001 her diary reports she played in a golf medal and
rode a horse the following day." David Ackerley, defending, said: "It's correct the DWP sent letters
telling her to inform of any improvement but she didn't realise she needed to do so because she still
had episodes of the same nature that was described in the forms. "The money she received paid for
more treatment and to see an osteopath. She wasn't using it to improve her living conditions."

The court heard Lewis was paying the money back but her husband had suffered three strokes and
that her eldest daughter was suffering from serious illness and relied on her. After the case Lord
Freud, Minister for Welfare Reform, said: "When people receive benefits they enter into a contract to
tell us of any change in circumstances. Failing to do so is a crime and we are committed to stopping it
by catching those who do it, whilst ensuring our reforms make the benefit system less open to abuse."

http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/3345308/Disabled-benefit-cheat-is-golf-ace.html
Is epilepsy a disability? (The Swazi Observer)

The Employment Equity Act defines disability as; “A long term or recurring physical or mental
impairment which substantially limits entry or advancement into employment”. On the other hand, the
Constitutional Court recognises that people are regarded as disabled because of a particular
characteristic or quality. Thus disability can be defined as impairment related and yes in most cases
epilepsy arises from a structural or chemical defect or imbalance in the brain.

Secondly, disability can be defined as an impairment which substantially limits entry or advancement
and yes, it is well documented that the disclosure of a diagnosis of epilepsy substantially limits a
person‟s prospects of being employed or advancing in the work place. Furthermore, disability is
regarded as a barrier to equal participation with others which can either be impairment related
attitudes and perceptions related and yes, the stigma associated with epilepsy is well documented
and the exclusion from equal participation in several areas of life because of this stigma cannot be
refuted. Epilepsy and disability both align themselves with the International Classification of
Functioning, Health and Disability stresses that disability cannot be defined on the basis of bodily
structure or function alone. Attitudes, environmental circumstances and perceptions have to be taken
into account too. According to Dr. Tomas (Secretary of the Latin American Committee) disability has
been used to describe people with physical or intellectual impairment of heterogeneous brain etiology,
which limits their independence and functioning.

According to World Health Organisation estimates suggest that, of the general population, between
7.5 and 10% could be considered to be disabled. He states that in epilepsies, which international
prevalence reaches four to eight every 1 000 of the population, most have a normal life, without
intellectual impairment and just a minority, less than 10%, have or develop a mental sub normality,
which is considered as an intellectual disability. Moreover, Dr Tomas argues that mental disability is
defined as an intellectual capacity less than 2 DS of the average or an intellectual quotient of less
than 70. It is specifically defined as a deficit or concurrent disturbance, starting prior 18 years of age,
of current adjusted activity, at least in two of the following areas: communication, personal care, daily
living skills, social skills and personal abilities, use of community resources, self control, education,
employment, health, leisure and safety. In people with epilepsy and a disability, different issues may
negatively influence them, making the disability worse. Some of the issues are side-effects of
antiepileptic drugs, especially those that cause sleepiness or memory and concentration alterations.
Other issues are the quantity and seriousness of central nervous system injuries, especially if located
in brain zones related to cognitive functioning, mainly temporal and frontal lobe. We need to consider
the negative psychosocial environment, for example, the stigma of having epilepsy. In order to give
good care and treatment to these people, we have to improve not only their quality of life due to their
epilepsy, which generally is more complex in its treatment and crisis control, but also we have to
consider the problems caused by their disability.

On one hand there are the educational aspects, for their families and their environment, such as
friends, teachers, and employers, health professionals and authorities. They have to be educated
about epilepsy and disability in every aspect that relates to each group. Nowadays, these people are
not institutionalised as before, but are part of the community; therefore, if possible, we have to
incorporate them completely. We also, must take into account the best educational options and
pedagogical aspects for them to have the chance to aspire for a job or career, in order to reach a
good social standing. The health aspect is very important, because it is needed to attain the best drug
management, with the lowest side-effects, that gives the best crisis control and has cheapest price.
Then the base issue is to achieve the best employment. A good example of this is the Americans with
disabilities Act, public Law of the United States of America (Public Law 101-336, 1990) which aims to
integrate people with disabilities in each segment of society and to assist in their finding and keeping
employment.

Finally, the psycho-social aspects must also be considered, which means their duties, rights, leisure
time, safety, living skills, family etc, in order to give them a better quality of life. It has been argued
that one of the challenges of the International Bureau for Epilepsy is to revaluate the current status in
different regions of the world, to see how issues such as education, school and pedagogy, legal and
work placements for people with disability and epilepsy are being addressed. Even though they are a
minority group, people with epilepsy and a disability deserve comprehensive support to improve their
quality of life.
http://www.observer.org.sz/index.php?news=20536


'Census 2011 crucial for people with disabilities' (Times of India)

Respondents of different surveys usually hide identity of physically challenged persons in their
families. This might become a major hindrance in assessing the exact number of physically
challenged people in the country during the census slated to begin from February 9, said prominent
social worker Javed Abidi on Sunday.

"Six to seven% of the population in India is disabled. But where are these people? Census this year is
important to gather information about the same. There is still a social stigma attached to disability.
Respondents might choose to conceal disability. If the daughter's disability is revealed, the sister
won't get married," said Abidi, director of National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disable
People at a workshop at Ahmedabad Management Association. The workshop was aimed at
sensitising people to the importance of providing accurate figures of people with different disabilities in
the country during the census.

In 2001, for the first time since independence, disability was added in the census questionnaire. But
being a last-minute addition and no awareness on the issue among enumerators or respondents
either, the figures derived - 21 million - were not convincing. "However this year, the census has
detailed questions on disability. Also, the disability part has been moved up in the order of questions -
to the ninth position from the previous 15," said Abidi, who was shocked to find no provisions for
people with disability at the Sabarmati Ashram.

"It was rather surprising that not everyone is allowed at Sabarmati Ashram as there are no access
ramps for people with disability. There is lack of political will in understanding seriousness of disability
issues which has led to inadequate allocation of resources for the disabled in the country," he said.

Abidi also shared an email received from a student of the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad,
who had written that he was the only person in his class who could not get campus placement for
being hearing impaired.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/Census-2011-crucial-for-people-with-
disabilities/articleshow/7393285.cms


London disabled man jailed for sex attacks (BBC)

A disabled man from south-west London has been jailed for three years for sexually attacking two
men with severe physical disabilities.

Christopher Killick, 47, of Roehampton, targeted the pair from 1991 to 2005, thinking "they would
never be able to complain", the Old Bailey heard. His victims, who suffer from cerebral palsy, testified
through a special voice machine and an intermediary. Killick was branded "a manipulative sexual
predator" by police. He used a wheelchair as he also had cerebral palsy. But he was "more physically
able" than his victims when he committed his crimes, said prosecution QC Johannah Cutts.

She said he knew it would be hard for the men to tell anyone about the abuse, and "took advantage of
their difficulties". Killick was a "predator who preyed on those more vulnerable than himself", said Det
Con Mark Sullivan of the Metropolitan Police." He befriended his victims and then betrayed that
friendship by subjecting them to unwanted sexual acts," he added. "He wrongly believed that because
of their disabilities and communication problems they would be unable to report what took place and
no one would listen to them."

Killick was cleared of a rape charge against a third man.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-12306083
Jamaican motorists disregarding the disabled (Go-Jamaica)

Executive Director of the Jamaica Society for the Blind, Conrad Harris, has accused Jamaican
motorists of disregarding the rights of disabled persons. The criticism follows Monday's accident along
Old Hope Road, in St Andrew, that claimed the life of 60-year-old Esmerelda Evans, who was blind.

Three other visually-impaired persons were among the five people injured in the crash, while another
woman, 54-year-old Joanna Scarlett was also killed. Harris says taxi drivers, especially, have made
the section of the roadway where the accident occurred dangerous for the visually impaired.

However, senior officers at the Matilda‟s Corner police station say they are surprised by the concerns
raised by the Jamaica Society for the Blind and have promised to increase their vigilance in the area.
Meanwhile, Harris is questioning the government's commitment to implementing initiatives included in
the Vision 2030 Plan that are designed to improve the quality of life for disabled persons.

He says he doubts the plans will materialise given the failure of successive governments to implement
even simple changes to help disabled persons. He says the authorities have continued to give token
responses to concerns such as the erection of utility poles in the middle of sidewalks and the wanton
disregard for the disabled by some motorists.

However, minister of Labour and Social Security, Pearnel Charles, says Jamaican governments have
always been sympathetic to the plight of the disabled.

http://go-jamaica.com/news/read_article.php?id=25457


Disabled Chinese Orphans Threatened by Government (China News.Net)

A U.S.-based organisation that advocates for Catholics in China is warning that an orphanage for
disabled children might be taken over by the Chinese government as a punishment of the bishop who
founded the care home.

The Cardinal Kung Foundation announced Tuesday that an orphanage for disabled youth founded in
Hebei province by Bishop Jia Zhiguo faced the imminent threat of a government take-over. The
prelate founded the home some 20 years ago, when a disabled baby was left on his doorstep and he
took the child in. As word spread of Bishop Jia's care for the infant, more and more children were left
at his home. He started a group of 30 nuns to care for the children. The orphanage now has more
than 100 children and youth, some only a few months old, others as old as 20.

Bishop Jia, however, has suffered constant persecution from the Chinese government because of his
refusal to adhere to the Catholic Patriotic Association, the group which approves all religious practice
in the country. Catholics who do not abide by the Patriotic Association have formed the "underground"
or "clandestine" Church, faithful to the Bishop of Rome.

Bishop Jia, 75, has spent years in prison, having been arrested 13 times for his refusal to adhere to
the Patriotic Association. His last arrest was in March 2009; he was released in July 2010. The prelate
again recently showed his defiance of the association by failing to attend an illicit episcopal ordination
last November, and the 8th Assembly of Chinese Catholic Representatives in December, a meeting
held to elect leaders for both the Patriotic Association and the assembly of Chinese bishops.

According to a statement from the Cardinal Kung foundation, "Probably because of Bishop Jia's
repeated rejections of the Patriotic Association and the National Congress for Catholic
Representatives, the Chinese authorities are now trying to punish him and break his staunch fidelity to
the Holy Father by threatening the welfare of the 100 orphans under his care and protection."

The foundation is recommending contacting Chinese embassies to express support for the bishop
and the orphanage.

http://www.chinanews.net/story.php?rid=42006876
Disabled Vt. veteran prevails in fight for home mail delivery (Boston Globe)

An 89-year-old disabled World War II veteran who couldn‟t get mail delivered to his home because
the Postal Service said his narrow street was too tricky for vehicles to navigate finally has a mailbox.
A group of disability advocates helped Robert Rhein overcome obstacles that kept him from having
the mailbox closer to his home and find someone to install it for him.

After hearing of Rhein‟s troubles getting his mail, Tina Wood of Disability Rights Vermont worked with
the office of Senator Bernie Sanders to ask the Postal Service to make a reasonable accommodation
for Rhein under the Rehabilitation Act.

The first request was denied, but Rhein appealed. The request was granted this week and the
mailbox installed yesterday.

Since August, Rhein has relied on his daughter to pick up his mail. Now he says “miracles do
happen.‟‟

http://www.boston.com/news/local/vermont/articles/2011/01/29/disabled_vt_veteran_prevails_in_fight
_for_home_mail_delivery/


McCallum urges tolerance, acceptance (The Sydney Morning Herald)

A blind lawyer and academic who continues to break stereotypes, Professor Ron McCallum has never
let disability hinder his achievements. He hopes being named Senior Australian of the Year for 2011
will help him achieve his ultimate aim: to ensure all people with a disability are treated equally. "I feel
greatly honoured ... greatly humbled, (although) I feel a very young senior," the 62-year-old told
reporters after the announcement of his latest achievement at Canberra's Parliament House.

Businessman and philanthropist Simon McKeon took out the Australian of the Year honours, while
teenage sailor Jessica Watson and anti-suicide campaigner Donald Ritchie also received accolades.
Asked how he planned to spend 2011, Prof McCallum said he wanted to change the attitudes of
everyday Australians to be more thoughtful about and accepting of the disabled. They deserved to be
treated equally, he said. "We have inequality in our laws of access, difficulties in access in transport
and information. "We're working hard on them, governments are working hard ... (but) that's where the
inequality lies. "I want to get out and meet fellow Australians and show them that we people with
disabilities are the same as everyone else."

The odds were against Prof McCallum in his early years. He was born blind and grew up in a poor
household under the reign of an alcoholic father. But he fought his circumstances, attended university
in both Melbourne and Canada, and began notching up accomplishment after accomplishment
despite his disability. Among his many milestones, he was the first totally blind person to be appointed
to a full professorship at an Australian university when he began with the University of Sydney in
1993. He later became the dean of its law faculty, from 2002 to 2007. He has headed various
taskforces and reviews. He has written extensively on labour law matters and was appointed an
Officer of the Order of Australia in 2006.

One of 12 members of the first monitoring committee for the UN's Convention on the Rights of
Persons with Disabilities, Prof McCallum is also now its chair. He holds the same position for the
NSW branch of Radio for the Print Handicapped, which reads newspapers and magazines over the
airwaves and is also one of two deputy chairs of Vision Australia.

Australia's disability discrimination commissioner Graeme Innes said Prof McCallum was a deserving
winner and an exceptional Australian. "(He) has demonstrated clearly the contribution which
Australians with disability can make if we are given - or create - the opportunity to do so," he said in a
statement. Prof McCallum will encourage the federal government to do more to make life easier for
people with disabilities through the National Disability Scheme, which is still being worked out. He was
recently appointed to the government's National People with Disabilities and Carers Council. "We
have the second highest unemployment level of any minority group,"
Prof McCallum said, noting that the highest was experienced by indigenous people. "We need to
become more inclusive to lessen those inequality barriers."

http://news.smh.com.au/breaking-news-national/mccallum-urges-tolerance-acceptance-20110125-
1a43y.html


Skepticism on the Worth Of Disability Rights Bill (The Jakarta Globe)

People living with disabilities in Indonesia are hoping for a better deal after lawmakers ratify an
international convention on the rights of the disabled this year, although there is skepticism that the
exercise will make much difference to their plight. Muhammad Anshor, director of human rights and
humanitarian affairs at the Foreign Affairs Ministry, said on Tuesday that a bill to ratify the United
Nations‟ Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities (CPRD) was already in its final stage
and would soon be forwarded to the House of Representatives for deliberation.

He also said that the ratification would require changes in the country‟s legal paradigms to be
effective, as the convention does not regard the disabled as objects but as citizens with rights. As an
example of the new paradigm, he said, the building of public facilities for the disabled should not be
regarded as charity or a medical remedy. The convention‟s point of view is that disabled people are
capable of making their own decisions and participating in public life on an equal basis with other
members of society.

Indonesia signed the convention in 2007 with at least 80 other countries. However, Anshor said it
remained to be seen whether the implementation of the convention — after it becomes a national law
— would actually bring about any real changes soon, adding that a lot of work was needed. He said
the convention is multidimensional and requires full, national implementation since this is not just a
human rights instrument but also a development instrument. The convention, he said, will not create
new rights but is a compilation of other international human rights instruments that stress the needs of
the disabled.

Jonhar Johan, a deputy for women‟s protection at the Ministry for Women‟s Empowerment and Child
Protection, said that based on the 2004 Socioeconomic Survey, there are at least 1.7 million blind
people in Indonesia, 602,784 deaf and/or mute people, 1. 6 million people with physical disabilities
and 777,761 who are mentally handicapped. He said the number was growing as the country‟s life
expectancy was increasing — as were the threats of chronic degenerative diseases, the number of
accidents and natural disasters. Many of the disabled live in rural areas and come from the lower
classes, with limited access to means of support.

Didi Tarsidi, chairman of the Indonesian Association for the Visually Impaired (Pertuni), said society at
large bears the responsibility of providing facilities that allow the disabled to lead their lives as
independently as possible. He said the disabled are often discriminated against in the public domain,
citing cases of airlines refusing to take on board disabled passengers or banks that would not allow
blind people to open their own account, arguing they were unable to read for themselves the terms of
agreement for bank account holders. “They could actually have their bank staff read out the
agreement to us but it seems that the banks don‟t even trust their own staff,” he said.

http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/home/skepticism-on-the-worth-of-disability-rights-bill/419261


Help kids with disabilities share their art with the nation (USA Today)

Last week we brought you five inspiring young individuals who are out to make a difference during our
Kindness Challenge. Today we've got a Kindness Challenge idea for you -- help spread a love of art
by showing kids with disabilities that they, too, can create amazing works of art.

Non-profit VSA, an international organization on arts and disability, has teamed up with CVS
Caremark for the "All Kids Can CREATE" program, encouraging children of all intellectual abilities to
explore and share their artistic talents with Americans.
For those that do decide to share their talents, there is an extra special opportunity for them. All
artwork submitted before February 4, 2011 at http://www.artsonia.com/ will be featured in an online
gallery and considered for display in a national touring exhibition debuting in Washington, D.C., in
June 2011.

According to the organization, there are no limits to what a child can create. Children are invited to
use traditional art materials as well as non-traditional ones, such as hair rollers, wrapping paper,
newspaper, or aluminum foil.

And as an extra bonus, teachers who submit their students' artwork are eligible to receive one of five
$1,500 cash awards for use in their classroom.

http://yourlife.usatoday.com/mind-soul/doing-good/kindness/post/2011/01/how-to-help-kids-with-
disabilities-share-their-art-with-the-nation/140338/1


Disability group a company not a charity (The Toronto Star)

A Toronto charity originally set up to help Jewish children overcome learning barriers was really a
business taking a hefty cut from disability support payments, a federal audit shows. The taxman
revoked the charitable status of the Canadian Ptach Society last year for “abusing” the federal
disability support program. Auditors ruled the charity was cooking up applications for people who do
not meet the program‟s criteria and then issuing bogus charitable receipts for commission fees. The
charity used the Canada Revenue Agency logo to advertise tax refunds as high as $30,000.

Today, the people who run the charity are behind the National Benefit Authority, a Toronto company
facing criticism for exploiting the disabled by taking as much as 30 per cent of the tax refund. NBA is
one of a dozen companies aggressively marketing a service the government says is unnecessary:
they apply on behalf of families of the disabled who want a retroactive refund on income tax paid over
the past ten years. “Every single Canadian who may be eligible for that money should be able to
apply for it,” said Akiva Medjuck, president of the NBA company and past president of the defunct
charity. NBA‟s slick website opens with a video from Medjuck, 31, who says that “helping disabled
Canadians is our passion” and “millions” of Canadians are entitled to refunds due to disability.

The website lists refunds awarded for migraines ($25,436), irritable bowel syndrome ($22,905), global
development delay ($13,736), and chronic vertigo ($47,800). A year ago, the Canada Revenue
Agency revoked the status of the charity. As a business, it can continue operation but cannot issue
charitable tax receipts. Auditors said the charity undermined the “integrity” of the disability tax credit
by “endeavouring to make peoples‟ illnesses fit the criteria for the tax credit.”

The charity‟s 1990 application for charitable status listed plans to “disseminate information about
learning disabilities, particularly among parents and educators of Jewish children.” The charity was
dormant for many years until 2007 when it began soliciting the public to apply for tax rebates, the
audit states. At the start, the charity asked for a fee equal to 15 per cent of the refund. Auditors looked
at the charity‟s books for 2006 and 2007. In 2007, the charity took in about $60,000 in fees for making
applications, then issued charitable receipts to the clients. The taxman said that is against charity
rules because those fees were not charitable gifts. Auditors also found record keeping at the charity
poor, with many missing documents. In July 2008, the charity threatened to take a client to court for
not paying the full “donation” amount. The client paid the charity more than $2,000 but was taken to
court for an additional $910.

In an attempt to stave off revocation, charity founder Medjuck said applying for disability tax credits is
a charitable activity. The taxman disagreed and revoked the status in January 2010. “When people
began coming to the organization asking for help the organization had to find a way to be able to fund
itself,” Medjuck told the Star. “The charity was operating out of its mandate and as soon as that
information was brought to the organization, it ceased to operate. That happened in mid-November
2008.” Medjuck said his company does important work because many Canadians are unaware they
might be eligible. It now takes a 30 per cent commission and advertises it can help clients secure
refunds of up to $35,000.
A handful of Toronto social agencies have voiced concerns that the company profits from those who
could fill out the forms themselves for free, or receive financial services at a much reduced rate. H&R
Block offers the same service for $27 for each year reviewed. In 2010, Better Business Bureau
received eight complaints against the National Benefit Authority while the Ontario Ministry of
Consumer Services received five complaints.

Meanwhile, auditors suggested that the charity‟s “aggressive marketing” is responsible for an increase
in retroactive disability tax credits claims in Ontario that date back to 1998. The total number of
Canadians who claimed disability amounts rose from 480,000 in 2000 to 650,000 in 2008. In that
same period, the total amount claimed rose from $2.13 billion to $4.88 billion.
There are more than a dozen companies from British Columbia to Nova Scotia that offer tax services
to disabled Canadians for a commission.
A tax deduction for blind Canadians was first introduced in 1944, and over the decades eligibility for
the deduction was expanded to include more disabilities. The deduction was converted into a
disability tax credit in 1988.

http://www.thestar.com/news/article/923163--disability-group-a-company-not-a-charity


Mada project to make reading more accessible (The Qatar Peninsula)

DOHA: Qatar Assistive Technology Centre (Mada) has partnered with Bookshare to provide
accessible electronic books to people with disabilities in Qatar as a first step, but the facility could be
expanded to include the region at large.

For the first time, over 23,000 books in accessible electronic format will be made available for free to
people in Qatar whose disability makes it very difficult or impossible to read standard print. “This
partnership reflects our work with international partners in bringing the benefits of technology to
people with disabilities in Qatar,” said Faleh Mohammed Al Noeimi, Mada CEO. “It is an important
step in ensuring that people with disabilities gain access to a wide range of titles at home, school and
in the workplace.”

Jim Fruchterman, Bookshare CEO has welcomed the Qatari initiative calling it a real commitment to
an inclusive society. Although the books will initially be provided in English, Mada is actively working
with Bookshare and also with regional and local partners to develop accessible electronic books.

In addition to the blind and people with low vision, Mada‟s partnership with Bookshare will also benefit
people with such learning disabilities as dyslexia as well as those with physical disabilities. Through
Mada, eligible people to be assessed by the centre and be given one year membership to download
books in accessible electronic format, including Daisy Talking Book format. From contemporary
bestsellers to important academic references, Mada will now bring a wide collection of titles to people
with print disabilities for the first time.

Bookshare is a global online library for readers with print disabilities. Readers are able to download a
variety of formats such as Braille, synthetic speech, text-to-speech and large print. Currently over
85,000 titles are available on the website. It is an initiative of Benetech, a high-tech non-profit social
entrepreneurial venture that provides technology solutions to social causes.

Readers with print disability needs to be assessed by Mada which then will provide them a username
and password to access all Bookshare titles, a service available for free. Mada in association with
Bookshare is working to develop a wide selection of accessible e-books in Arabic language and the
cooperative project intends to issue some 500 books in Arabic by the end of this year.

http://www.thepeninsulaqatar.com/qatar/140853-mada-project-to-make-reading-more-accessible.html

				
DOCUMENT INFO
Shared By:
Categories:
Tags:
Stats:
views:32
posted:4/25/2011
language:English
pages:8