Thursday, June 13, 2024

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PLDT, Smart empower visually impaired persons with digital training

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PLDT and Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) are helping open opportunities for visually impaired persons through learning sessions on digital innovations that maximize their smartphone use.

“Through our Infoteach program, PLDT and Smart aim to bridge the digital divide and ensure that no one is left behind. We collaborate with like-minded organizations to bring technology to vulnerable populations who are bound to benefit from it the most,” said Stephanie Orlino, AVP and Head of Stakeholder Management at PLDT and Smart.

Conducted by ATRIEV, the prime ICT specialist non-profit organization that empowers visually impaired persons through technology-enabled assistive programs, the ten-day free online Android accessibility training focused on operating Android devices with the help of a TalkBack screen reader. The application provides text-to-speech feedback that allows visually impaired persons to use smartphones independently.

After learning basic smartphone navigation, participants also practiced angle gestures or two-part swipes that allow users to open or close menus, switch between pages, and many other processes. They were also acquainted with the onscreen keyboard.

Participants also practiced downloading and installing applications. The trainers, who are themselves visually impaired, also suggested other accessible applications that can enrich their smartphone experience.

Mike Ryan Mangompit has been totally blind since he was five years old. The 22-year-old Grade 11 student from Zamboanga said he finally mastered the ‘gestures’ when he attended the training, “I first learned about TalkBack gestures on YouTube. But I learned more gestures when I attended the training. Previously, my sibling helped in sending emails. Now, I can do it on my own.”

Isaac Isidro Hipolito, a 19-year-old Bulaceño, said that learning basic smartphone operations has allowed him to perform daily tasks independently, “The technology helps me fill out online forms and learn about my messages without having someone read them to me. With additional applications like cash readers, I can confidently pay for transactions.”

PLDT and Smart’s partnership with ATRIEV is an opportunity to assist the visually impaired sector. Co-sponsored by PLDT, the training enables participation of persons in unique circumstances through #InclusiveTechnology.

The Infoteach program underscores PLDT and Smart’s efforts to help the nation meet UN Sustainability Development Goal 10 on reducing inequality by empowering and promoting the social, economic and political inclusion of all, including persons with disabilities.


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