Blind World Magazine

Kuwait hosts conference on role of special needs people.

Kuwait Times.
Tuesday, May 02, 2006.

held under the patronage of the Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and this year was titled 'Access to Information'. This conference is organised by the Kuwait Institution for Scientific Researches (KISR).

The conference aims to give access to information for the disabled. It also aims to involve the handicapped in technology and to improve their abilities. In addition, this conference aims to increase media interest in the handicapped and to support research and development activities to let the handicapped develop themselves.

Access to information is a basic human right. "The access to information is the corner stone in building the information and knowledge society. We should care about the social, economic, cultural, and educational aspects of this issue. Kuwait is always working to equate the disabled with the rest of society," said Sheikh Ali Al-Jarrah Al-Sabah, the Minister of Social Affairs and Labour, on behalf of the Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah.

Article 10 of the Kuwaiti constitution affirms that the state should take care of the youth. From this point, the High Council for Disabled Affairs was founded along with other institutions, such as the physiotherapy hospital, the special schools directory, and other charity clubs and societies for the disabled. "On an international level, Kuwait also signed other agreements arranging training and rehabilitation programs for the disabled. This lead to great achievements for this category of people in different fields, and IT is a solution for them to improve their standard of living," Sheikh Ali added.

Previous statistics show that the number of disabled people has reached about 600 million people, from which 140 million are children. These figures make 12 percent of the world's population. "The majority of this number (80 percent) are living in developing countries. These numbers are always subject to increase. Cooperation should be increased between countries and world organisations," said Dr Abdullah Al-Otaibi, director general of the Kuwait Institution for Scientific Research (KISR).

During the past 20 years, KISR have carried out many leading projects in the field of education for the disabled. "KISR carried out a special project for the blind. It was a project to build an electronic Braille system; it built a system of printing schoolbooks for the blind with Braille also. In addition, KISR built the first electronic printing house for the blind in the Arab world," noted Dr Al-Otaibi.

KISR also carried out many other projects for the disabled. KISR created the Kuwaiti Dictionary of Sign Language, which contains more than 2200 signs. "In addition, it created the Arabic Sign Dictionary, and many more projects. KISR has built two complete workshops in the physiotherapy hospital, and also equipped some laboratories in the schools for the disabled. KISR didn't forget about the mentally disabled and people with autism, and these services and projects also reached other Arab countries," Al-Otaibi pointed out.

The international summit, adopted by UN members has certain goals. "This plan should be carried out by 2015, so it's important to have clear view to have this technology for the disabled. This plan should also find the application of modern technology to improve the abilities of the disabled. I want to thank all the sponsors and those who supported this conference," said Firyal Al-Freeh, the head of the high committee.

The conference also includes an exhibition for different companies and authorities in this field. Also, during the three days there will be many sessions given from international scientists.

End of article.

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