ST Foundation helps bridge the digital divide for visually impaired people in Senegal
From November 21 to November 25, Giovanna Bottani (ST Foundation Director of Operations) and Dr. Cristian Bernareggi of Milan University organized a field mission to Thies in Senegal to launch the ST Foundation’s course “Introduction to Computer Basics Course for Visually Impaired People” (ICBVI). The objectives were to train a first group of 14 teachers who will then cascade the course in Senegal and also to conduct a pilot training course for 10 blind or visually impaired students at the National Institute for Education and Training of Blind Youth (Inefja) in Thies.
The mission was a great success. Both teachers and students learnt very quickly using the approach developed by Professor Bernareggi. On the third day, during the “Internet Browsing” lesson the teachers gave the ST Foundation team a standing ovation as they were suddenly aware that the huge barrier which had existed between them, and the digital world had been broken down and that from now on they were in possession of the necessary tools to enable them to access all the information available on the Internet. They finally felt liberated.
Who better to voice their feelings than one of the teachers who took part in the course :
Hello, my name is Alexis, and I am participating in this training course so that I will once again have the possibility to teach as I did before. I became blind in 2012, and since then, I haven’t touched a keyboard. I am delighted with this training, which is a kind of release from the blockage that prevented me from using a computer and accessing the same information as my colleagues who don’t have my problems The course you are offering is a success in terms of communication, exchange of information and especially in terms of capacity building and computer literacy. It allows us to improve our skills in computer science, eliminating the barriers that can prevent a blind person from doing activities that, for sighted people, are just routine. I would like to thank the STMicroelectronics Foundation and the trainers who introduced us to this program. Now I’m sure I can redefine my career in training and education, and in a way, I will start to see again!
Alexis Jean Pierre, Teacher at the Unesco Clubs in Alternative Education and Sociology of Targeted Groups