Microsoft announced its successful collaboration with Sharjah’s Al Amal School for the Deaf to deliver two days of coding training for students with hearing disabilities.
“Accessible technology is critical for the development of youth who need to overcome the additional layers of challenges that stand in their way of growth,” said Afaf Ali Al Haridi, Principal, Al Amal School for the Deaf.
He added, “Through this collaboration with Microsoft, we will be able to provide the best in training and learning experiences for one of the most in-demand skills in the digital world. All students deserve the opportunity to excel in their field of interest, as well as opportunities to equip themselves with the right tools to shape their future. Our students will now be able to develop new skills and be confident in expressing and sharing their talent with the rest of the world.”
“More than 1 billion people around the world live with a disability, yet only an estimated one in ten have access to the assistive technologies they need,” said Ihsan Anabtawi, Chief Operating Officer and CMO at Microsoft UAE.
He added, “Additionally, it’s important to know that 70% of disability is invisible, so you don’t always know what may be a challenge for those around you, and it’s equally important to remember that disability – whether temporary, situational, or permanent – is something that can affect any of us, or someone we love, at any time.”
He also said, “For us at Microsoft, through over 25 years of work on accessibility, we learned that people with disabilities represent one of the world’s largest untapped talent pools, and we are committed to leveraging technology to help open doors and create bigger opportunities for people with disabilities. We’re thankful for the opportunity to collaborate with and support Al Amal School and its students and are inspired by their curiosity and desire to learn and create, and hope our work can motivate others to get involved and make a difference.”
“When it comes to accessibility, we believe that it is essential to delivering on our mission to “empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more” Anabtawi said.
He added, “By working together across all parts of our economy and society, both public and private sectors and also as individuals, we have an opportunity to improve inclusion of people with disabilities – or people of determination as the community is known in the UAE – for years to come – and specifically leverage the power of digital technology to enable and empower everyone to fully participate and achieve their goals and ambitions”.
Microsoft noted how the training provided to the students on November 25 and 28 was in accordance with the company’s continuous leadership on accessibility issues in the release, which came on the heels of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities on December 3. The seminars were geared toward improving the kids’ problem-solving abilities and enhancing their self-esteem. Over the course of the two days, interactive teaching approaches were used to introduce participants to coding principles and motivate them to apply what they had learned to the creation and implementation of computer games.
Microsoft’s accessibility strategy focuses on collaboration throughout the firm, with a focus on three key targets listed in our newly announced 5-year commitment to closing the disability gap: promoting the development of more accessible technology across our sector and economy; utilising this technology to provide employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities; and creating a more inclusive workplace for people with disabilities. On the technological front, Microsoft Teams contains capabilities like as live captioning for meetings, high-contract mode for select content, backdrop blur, and an immersive reader embedded right into Teams discussions.