The Malta Independent 18 October 2021, Monday

FITA strengthens its services for persons with disability

Tuesday, 19 May 2015, 09:22 Last update: about 7 years ago

A presentation of Braille embossing services, ICT Training and Information Sessions, Helpdesk Support, the Accessibility Certification, the Consultancy Services and the Maltese Speech Engine was held yesterday.

Parliamentary Secretary for Competitiveness Jose’ Herrera and the Parliamentary Secretary for the Rights of Persons with Disability and Active Ageing Justyne Caruana were present for this presentation.

Dr Caruana praised the Foundation for Technology Accessibility for their specialised and important work.  She said that persons with disability are the largest partition of our society who are mostly affected by the digital divide and therefore more services are needed. She also mentioned that IT is an important and essential tool for us to combat discrimination and exclusion which persons with disability face on a day-to-day basis. It also has to serve as a platform in order to help them reach their aims and aspirations especially in the employment sector.

She also spoke on the rights of persons with disability and on the legislative framework, where she said that the government is revising existing laws and planning new ones. She also mentioned the National Policy for the Rights of Persons with Disability adopted by this government and the drafting of the strategy in order for the policy to be implemented. This is being done in order for the government to put forward tangible and concrete measures that will truly affect the people in general.  

She said that the job undergone by FITA is a measure by which visually impaired persons, especially, can benefit from its service to increase more integration in society in every sector and level.  She concluded by quoting the message that blind persons who attend SPERO centre,  promoted, which states that more persons with disability should search for help and never give up.

Parliamentary Secretary Jose’ Herrera said that this foundation is widening its services.  He said that the foundation receives more than six hundred claims for help each year.  “Today the right that everyone uses ICT is also found engraved in the digital strategy drafted by this Government”, reiterated the Parliamentary Secretary.

He said that today FITA is widening its services by amongst others, continuing to strengthen the braille system for the blind, providing more training courses while strengthening its help desk and also working hand in hand with the industry so their products and services are more accessible for those who have some disability or another such as blindness.

“During the years, FITA changed its strategy according to the need.  In the beginning it began focusing on the need that everyone has access to a computer.  Then emphasis was made on the fact that it is not enough to have a tablet or computer, but one need to know how to use them in the best way possible.  Apart from the continuous research, this is a process that takes time as the needs of every individual are different”, the Parliamentary Secretary said.

The Parliamentary Secretary said that presently, FITA is giving more importance to launch services and projects which are accessible to a wide variety of people.  He recalled that accessibility reduces dependence and therefore appealed for all of those who in some way or another provide a service or a product to make it accessible for persons with disability as well.

 

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