Inclusion for People with Disabilities in Colombia

 
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In Concordia, they know about inclusion
In Concordia, they know about inclusion

2015 has been, so far, a great year for us and, of course, for our beneficiaries. Thanks to your help we have been working on projects related with helping youth and people with disabilities get a better way of living through the ITC in this period.

Right now, we are getting ready to face a new part of this excited project.  As part of our preparation for the next rounds of the training sessions to improve the access to information and inclusion for people with disabilities in rural libraries in the region of Antioquia, our project leaders, Sara Lizarralde, Camila Urbina and Ana Isabel Restrepo, participated in a workshop, hosted by Margarita Maria Vallejo, from the organization Portafolio Verde (Green Portfolio in English).

For what? Well, the meeting was aimed for our team to learn responsible and friendly practices with the environment as well as recognize the role of public libraries in the appropriation of such practices. Our leaders will replicate their new knowledge in the communities they work with, especially among the people with disabilities.

Your generosity is giving us an awesome opportunity to keep working for the inclusion of people with disabilities, this time in social matters as the caring of the environment. We do not have words to THANK YOU enough.  

But is not over yet.  Along with the workshop, during the past months, the second round of training related to the project, product of a partnership between MAKAIA and the Library Network of Medellín, a program of the EPM Foundation, were held in Concordia and Támesis, two municipalities of Antioquia. We are hoping to have a couple more sessions in 2015 and we are sure we can do it with your support. THANKS again for your big help! 

In Tamesis, they know about it too
In Tamesis, they know about it too
Our team getting new knowledge!
Our team getting new knowledge!
Our project leaders, Camila, Sara and Ana
Our project leaders, Camila, Sara and Ana
They are ready to replicate what they learned
They are ready to replicate what they learned
Atendees engage in creative awareness activities
Atendees engage in creative awareness activities

We had a great year. 2014 not only gave us the opportunity to train and give new opportunities to more than 700 beneficiaries, but also brought us a great allies and wonderful donors to continue helping people with disabilities in Colombia to build a better future.  

Thanks to your generosity and along with one of our greatest allies, the Medellin Library Network, we conducted three training sessions aimed to improve access to information and inclusion for people with disabilities in rural libraries in the region of Antioquia. The three small municipalities of Concordia, Carmen de Viboral and Tamesis, were chosen to receive an awareness and methodology training sessions, accessible hardware and multimedia designed to help people with disabilities use ICT tools.  

Around 15 people attended the workshops in each municipality -42 total-. People, who were motivated by the training session, workshops and the new tools available so they can help people with disabilities in their community to gain better access information, communicate more effectively and improve their social and economic opportunities.

The training session was directed to the librarians, community leaders, workers and volunteers from social organizations that work directly with people with disabilities, enriching their knowledge of technological tools and low cost inclusion solutions to foster development and growth in their community.

Sara, our trainer said about the three training sessions “This experience has allow me to witness how with the right motivation the community begins to place more importance on the inclusion of people with disabilities, specially libraries play an important role in this transformation because they become special places of inclusion for everyone to join in” She also heighted how every single one of the attendees finished the training session with a renewed energy to help more people with disabilities in their community and to use technology to change their lives.

She was specially moved by the experience of one women in the Concordia Municipal Library, during one of the disability awareness exercises, where all the attendees were asked to place a blindfold in their eyes and then eat a snack, the woman was visibly moved and crying. When our trainer Sara approached her she told her she did a lot of work with people with visual disabilities and she was also going blind herself and if was a very intense emotional experience to have a true glimpse into the reality of the people she cared for and her own future. The women also expressed how thankful she was to have the aid an opportunities for people with disabilities in the library not only for the people she helped but for her in the future.

Thanks to your generous support and the support of the Medellin Library Network we will continue working with each library individually giving them training in creative and innovative methodologies they can replicate with their community, and also helping them create and action plan for inclusion in the library with the tools and knowledge they receive.

Listening to the awareness training-Concordia
Listening to the awareness training-Concordia
Learning some sign language!
Learning some sign language!
Atendees in the blindfold awereness excercize
Atendees in the blindfold awereness excercize
In the Tamesis library with the blind folds!
In the Tamesis library with the blind folds!

It is no secret that Colombia has a troubled past, almost 50 years of conflict has left many wounds we are only beginning to heal as a nation. But the silver-lining of this terrible past comes in the form of the unrelenting faith and optimism of the Colombian people.As we embark in the journey of peace talks and the construction of a post-conflict community, our organizations its thinking about ways we can contribute to this new chapter in our country while working for the social inclusion of people with disabilities.

Motivated by this and with the help of two wonderful organizations, the Matamoros Foundation –an NGO dedicated to generate new life opportunities through education, physical-emotional rehabilitation and social and labor integration programs for members of the Armed Forces and Police officers wounded in combat and their families, as well as widows and orphans of members of the Armed Forces killed in line of duty; and the Trust for the Americas – an NGO, strategic ally of the Organization of American States (OAS) that works channel human and technological resources to give greater economic opportunities to vulnerable populations-, we are doing a training session designed for trainers to learn how to use and teach the INTEL Easy step and INTEL Aprender methodologies, this next 20th to 25th of October.

These methodologies allow participants to use ICT tools to strengthen their digital literacy, critical thinking and collaboration skills (INTEL Aprender), and better their quality of life, both socially and economically (INTEL Easy step). The trainers will also learn how to guide beneficiaries in how to identify skills and abilities they can use in the job market or to create their own business.

Trainers from the Matamoros Foundation, supported by the Trust for the Americas, will in turn use these methodologies to teach groups of military veterans and police officers wounded in the line of duty, how to use ICT tools to build a life project and recognize and strengthen their skills to reintegrate to the labor force.

Veterans in Colombia are in need of new opportunities that will allow them to start new careers or businesses now they are no longer serving, and this training will give them the tools to find that new place in their community. Thanks to your generosity and the help of our allies we are able to train these trainers and contribute to the rebuilding of a peaceful society and support our wounded military and police officers so they can create a new life for them and their families.

Aerial view of the training session!
Aerial view of the training session!

We have the best news!  As you may know from our last report, we had planned to give 3 training sessions, one each for a library, a telecentre and a social organization. A person could choose one of the different programs we offer, according to the relevant group of people in their communities, which would be taught the use of the ICT tools to improve their quality of life and inclusion in society.

Thanks to your generous donations, our training aimed at one library spread further than we had planned!

In search of the library that we were going to choose for the training, we contacted the Library Network (a program of the EPM Foundation) and the Medellin Library System, who were delighted to partner up with MAKAIA to make our training even broarder, highlighting the importance of training trainers, extending the invitation, not to one library to gain the skills to bring inclusion to their community, but to all librarians and library professionals in the city!

The Library Network (a program of the EPM Foundation) and the Medellin Library System chose our training session for people with visual disabilites, that taught librarians and library professionals not only how to approach and interact with this target populations, but also how to use the JAWS software, that allows blind or visually impared people to use any computer and navigate the web, and teach others.

The training was held on June 25th at the EPM Library, providing at first an overview of how to work with people with a visual impairment, then exploring software features, the process of downloading, installing and custom settings for anyone who intends to use the program, and finally there was a practical stage in which browser exercises were held, just for them to know the basic commands and functioning.

Luis David Elorza, MAKAIA trainer and leader of the process, says "is not enough to generate access, meaning physical and technical conditions for people with disabilities on how to use computers and softwares, but it is equally important, to generate accessibility for people with disability and this training sessions give us the opportunity to bring forth that accesibility."

On the other hand, Liliana Martinez, one of the participants in the event of the Libraries System CONFAMA said: "In our libraries we don’t have a concrete approach or project for visually and hearing disabled people, but as a library we feel the duty to provide these spaces for inclusion, that’s why it’s so important for me to have this experience, because apart from being at a training, it was a life changing experience that shows us the ways to have inclusive and respectful projects that can mark a difference. Through this experience I realized all the potential that people with disabilities have”.

These are great news, because now the program will have a greater range and will be used and learned all over the city, creating new and wide opportunities for inclusion. Giving people with disabilities in Medellín a chance to expand their knowledge, study and even create their own business. Thanks to your generosity they now can access more than 19 libraries that can provide them with skills to change their life.

Training under way!
Training under way!
Trainner and trainees from 19 libraries
Trainner and trainees from 19 libraries
Everyone is learning!
Everyone is learning!
Everyone is really focus in learning!
Everyone is really focus in learning!

Links:

We are so excited to announce our newest trainning program to foster inclusion for people with disabilities! With your help we are creating three different groups, one in a community library, one in a local telecentre and one in a social organization that works with disabled people.

Starting on May 5th, each of the three will be able to choose one of the different programs that we offer, according to the most relevant group they work with, to provide them with Information and Communication techology training. We are expecting between 20 to 30 people in each group, who will learn how to use computers to improve their opportunities and quality of life.

Our project will take advantage of infrastucture and aids already placed in librarys, telecentres and institution around the city  to teach groups of people with dissability how to use computer, digital tools and the internet to better understand and transfom their reality.

The chosen library, telecentre and social organization will be able to choose:

  • Our training session for people with visual dissabilites, will teach the group how to use and take advantage of the JAWS software, that allows blind or visually impared people to use any computer and navigate the web.
  • For our training session designed for people with hearing disabilities we have set up workshops that allow them to integrate digital tool in family life or entrepeneurship proyects.
  • Our training project for people with movility disabilities focuses on training to create entrepeneurship iniciatives to improve their economic oportunities and good practices for using the the Internet, to strenghten their academic development.
  • Our training session designed for people with cognitive disabilities, is our most special and tailored program, and we do them in careful articulation with the group's regular teachers and therapists. The program is created to suit the special needs of each group, according to the individual goals they are striving to achive and their most urgent needs, which can range from the development of psychomotor skills, concentration, to reading and writing proceses.  

These programs are proof that when it comes to inclusion, little resources can go a long way and spread through the community, changing lives and transforming the future of many. When you donate to our project you are not only donating to create inclusion, you are helping to shape lives and better the conditions of generation of people with disabilities in entire communities!

Thank you! 

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Organization

MAKAIA

Medellin, Antioquia, Colombia
http://www.makaia.org

Project Leader

Camila Urbina

Medellin, Antioquia Colombia

Where is this project located?

Map of Inclusion for People with Disabilities in Colombia