A project called “Accessible Cybercafe for All” has begun to be developed by the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication (MoITT) and the International Union of Telecommunications (ITU).
Among the goals of the MoITT are to address the digital divide by offering digital skill programs to bridge the digital gap as well as establishing accessible cybercafes for persons with disabilities.
In accordance with the Ministry of Information and Technology officials, the cybercafes will be established so that persons with disabilities will have the ability to maximize the benefits of information technology in an inclusive manner. Not only will these cafes provide state-of-the-art software, hardware, and other IT equipment, but they will also have all the tools that a person with disabilities may need in order to utilize these cafes to the maximum extent. A partnership with Special Talent Exchange Program (STEP) will also be established to provide IT training for disabled individuals in collaboration with the ministry.
MoITT officials have stated that the project will begin in Islamabad and will be expanded to other cities throughout Pakistan within the next few months. With digital skills, people with visual impairments or hearing impairments will be able to use ICT in a meaningful way for their education, for their businesses, and for their employment opportunities.
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In order to ensure the accessibility of ICTs for persons with disabilities, the ministry has formed a National ICT Council. Representatives from other organizations are also included in this council, including representatives from telecommunications companies. As part of its work to increase digital inclusion of persons with disabilities, the council provides them with training and outlines policies and procedures to help them become involved in the IT sector.
As of 2017, according to the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors study, there are 9 million blind people in Pakistan who have severe or moderate visual impairment, according to the study. This does not include the 12.64 million people who live with Presbyopia, a condition where your eye gradually loses its ability to focus on objects in close proximity as you age.
According to the World Health Organization, 5% of each country’s population is affected by some form of hearing impairment, which equates to a total of approximately 10 million people in Pakistan with some sort of hearing impairment.