Written by Michelle Erdin
During Focus India’s On-Site Seminar, we had the opportunity to witness and learn how accessibility is enabled – one of this year’s central themes – and how it is put into practice in India. Ranging from enabling access to education, to empowering individuals with disabilities to utilise digital tools – it was highly inspirational to learn about these many initiatives. Hence, we are pleased to share with you some of the highlights.
The Good Shepherd School – Access to education for disadvantaged rural communities
“Providing an opportunity in life” – is the mission of the Good Shepherd School. The School enables 26’000 children from disadvantaged and oppressed rural communities with access to English-medium education. Children from 4 to 15 years of age are given the chance to transform holistically, as well as be empowered to become independent. Having the chance to visit this school was a very special experience for us. It was heart-opening to interact with these open-minded and curious children.
CISCO – Empower individuals with disabilities to utilise digital tools
At Cisco, Karthik, an employee with vision impairment, explained to us Cisco’s efforts of enabling individuals with disability access to technology that would otherwise be impossible. Karthik is an accessibility tester for such solutions. Ensuring the accessibility to such products is an effective use case of our theme “enable Accessibility”. One example is a screen reader that reads and describes written as well as visual content.
LinkedIn – Connect blue-collar professionals to leverage LinkedIn
LinkedIn is in the process of enabling access for blue-collar workers in the US and India to the LinkedIn platform. In their view, not only white-collar professionals should have the opportunity to get access professional digital networking platforms to be exposed to job opportunities and other possibilities, but also blue-collar professionals. Especially, because of the high demand in India for blue-collar skills.
India’s commitment to Smart Cities Mission
At the Swiss Embassy in New Delhi, we learnt about the Smart Cities Mission of the global network “Local Government of Sustainability.” So far, 100 Indian cities have committed to become smarter cities. For the majority of these cities, the key investment commitment is urban transportation. Throughout our journey, we were able to observe initiatives of different cities to make their city smarter.