Microsoft and MADA Assistive Technology Centre have together formed "Imkaan", a program that brings the benefits of information technology to disabled people in Qatar.
The joint collaboration, named after the Arabic word for “possibility”, will facilitate greater digital inclusion to people with disabilities through provision, education and innovation. The initiative will also aim to raise awareness around the potential of technology in creating opportunities for people with disabilities at work, school, and in social settings.
Mr. Mohammad Hammoudi, Country Manager, Microsoft Qatar, said: "Empowering people through the use of technology and providing the opportunity to do so is something Microsoft is committed to, and by joining up with MADA Assistive Technology Centre we are able to better empower disabled people in the country. With the Centre’s extensive work in Qatar and the organization’s relationship with the disabled community, we have been able to place the technology that will provide new opportunities for maximum accessibility. Training of IT professionals on ensuring access to ICT for all is also core to aiding the initiative to reach the largest number of people."
The project is set to comprise four essential pillars to achieve its goal:
Community Support: Placement of technologies, such as Microsoft Surface, Microsoft Lync, Microsoft SharePoint, Kinect and Windows Live Messenger in various environments including the MADA Assistive Technology Centre resource centre and Hamad Medical Corporation facilities to connect people with disabilities to the world of ICT.
- Capacity Building: Providing digital literacy materials to the disabled community while training the IT community in Qatar on accessibility standards.
- Empowerment: Addressing the personal technological needs of disabled individuals by providing Microsoft software to people with disabilities in Qatar, providing technical support and encouraging the disabled to embrace technology without the concerns of financial barriers.
- Innovation: Applying research and development initiatives within Qatar in the field of assistive technologies while opening new areas of capacity development for the student and workforce community in Qatar.