Aug 31, 2009, 7:01 AM
Start Now Computer Training Institute’, a centre to train the visually impaired in computing and information technology, on Saturday marked its one year anniversary.
The event on the theme: “Disability is Possibility”, was held at the Brikama Area Council hall in Brikama.
Speaking on the occasion, Alieu Jaiteh, founder of Start Now said the organisation has a mission to train and empower the visually impaired high school graduates and youths in The Gambia on computer skills.
“This is to prepare them for higher education and to enhance their employment opportunities,” he said. “Technology has played a vital role in today’s world. This is why Start Now was born to enhance the technology of the visually impaired so they can have access to higher education, and can also work in any office.”
Mr Jaiteh said Start Now is very grateful to all the institutions that have supported their cause since establishment. He said it is because of the support that Start Now was able to help people visually impairment not only in Brikama and the West Coast Region, but also those in Kanifing Municipal Council.
He said more than 15 people with visual impairment have benefited from Start Now’s IT training.
“Today man now [of the people trained by Start Now] enjoy using computers to communicate as well as use the internet to browse and work with different Microsoft applications,” Mr Jaiteh said.
He called on the public and private sectors, and philanthropists to give a helping hand to Start Now so that it can reach out to more and more people with visual impairment “to show them that disability does not mean inability”.
No prejudice towards the disabled
Lamin Jawla who represented the Governor of West Coast Region at the event, said there is a need to wipe out prejudice against differently-able people.
“People with disabilities also have a role to play in national development, so they should not be treated as children of a lesser god with unwanted sorrow heaped on them.
“There is no place in the society for prejudice, yet people with disability are often not given equal rights and opportunities. As a nation, there is a need to raise awareness that the disabled people in the society need empathy not sympathy; there is a need to be aware that the differently-able may or may not look the same or behave the same as those who are able, but they have a place in the society.”
The one-year anniversary of Start Now also saw the organisation launching its new website, sponsored by Concern Universal through funding from the U.S Embassy Banjul project.
Ismaila Jarju of Concern Universal, who launched the website, said through the website, Start Now will have an online presence and be able to raise awareness about their work and share information with the outside world.
Concern Universal sponsored Start Now’s website through an ICT project it is implementing funded by the U.S. Embassy in Banjul.