Mada Releases First Arabic Language Portal of Assistive Technology
Mada (Qatar Assistive Technology Center) has unveiled an Assistive Technology portal to better serve the needs of people with disabilities in Qatar, and throughout the Arabic speaking world. The portal (http://madaportal.org) is an information packed bi-lingual digital platform that will help people make better, more informed choices about Assistive Technology. The portal is the first of its kind in the Arab world and contains detailed information about a wide range of technologies that help connect people with learning, physical, visual and hearing disabilities to the world of ICT.
The portal has been developed entirely in house by the Mada team in Qatar, and comes as part of a process of providing information resources about Assistive Technology, particularly in the Arabic language. In addition to a searchable database which provides product information, availability and approximate price, the portal also offers a wide range of factsheets, video training materials, a glossary of Assistive Technology terms, as well as an ongoing sets of blogs that discuss ongoing developments and personal experiences related to the realm of connecting people with disabilities to the digital realm.
In addition to providing assessment, training and technology provision services for free in Qatar, Mada also works closely with e-Accessibility experts in the region to develop platforms that are accessible to people with different abilities. As such, the portal, which also has a functional mobile version, has been built according to the guidelines set out by the World Accessibility Initiative (WAI).
During the media launch event which took place at the headquarters of the Qatari Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (ictQATAR) earlier today, journalists were given a detailed tour of the portal and were given a brief about the importance of such a resource to Arabic speaking communities throughout the world.
“Creating a dynamic repository of information in the Arabic language with so much detail is a tremendous resource for people with disabilities, parents, caregivers and professionals who are committed to using ICT as a means of improving quality of life and creating better opportunities in the areas of education and employment in Qatar and beyond,” said Maha Al Mansouri, deputy CEO of Mada: the Qatar Assistive Technology Center.
Since opening its doors in June 1, 2010, Mada has worked with hundreds of people with disabilities to leverage the power of digital technology as a means of facilitating empowerment and independence. As well, the Center, which is a not for profit organization, has also worked with manufacturers from around the world to develop Assistive Technologies in the Arabic language. These include Arabic versions of Clicker 5, a popular tool used with children with learning disabilities, as well the Mada Reader Writer, which offers both a screen reader and text prediction tool.
Many of these manufacturers are members of the Assistive Technology Industry Association, an American (ATIA) based a not-for-profit membership organization of manufacturers, sellers and providers of technology-based assistive devices and services. David Ditker, the president of ATIA, was also present at the launch of the Mada AT Portal in Doha, Qatar.
He said: “Having a center like Mada in the Arab world enables manufacturers of Assistive Technology to provide relevant and meaningful products and tools to Arabic speakers wherever they may be. The development of an AT portal of this size in the Arabic language will be a huge boost to everybody’s efforts in supporting the needs of digitally excluded people with disabilities throughout the world.”
Mada offers all of its services, free of charge to residents and citizens of Qatar, and publishes all of its information resources under a Creative Commons license. The AT portal will be yet another way in which Mada is trying to raise the level of awareness and build local and regional capacities in the area of Assistive Technology.
Whatever your needs may be, Mada (Qatar Assistive Technology Center) can help connect you to the world of Information and Communication Technology (ICT). Through Mada, people with learning, visual, hearing, and physical disabilities including Dyslexia are able to use ICT without barriers, unlocking a world of opportunities and information. Even those with pain or discomfort using a computer can benefit from Mada’s services.
As a non-profit organization, Mada offers assessments, advice and training for everyone. Open five days a week, Mada welcomes visitors at its state of the art Resource Center. Mada was established in 2001 by the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (ictQatar), and also works in the areas of e-accessibility and research and development. To learn more about Mada, visit their website at http://mada.org.qa.
For more information, kindly contact Bryan Boyle, Head of Resource Center, firstname.lastname@example.org