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Facebook, GSMA for inclusion of differently abled persons in S Asia

KARACHI – Marking the tenth anniversary of the Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) and to drive more collaborations on disabilities inclusion in South Asia, GSMA and Facebook hosted a virtual industry discussion today, with panelists from DeafTawk (Pakistan), a2i (Bangladesh), Dialog Axiata (Sri Lanka), G3ict.

Persons with disabilities are often excluded and marginalised in society due to a lack of access to opportunities and services. Assistive technologies (ATs) are systems (i.e. hardware or software) and services designed to improve access for persons with disabilities. The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) recognises that every person with a disability has the right to access affordable ATs. ATs are instrumental in helping persons with disabilities to overcome some of the physical and social barriers of disability.

Speaking at the event, Michael Nique, Senior Director, GSMA Assistive Tech, said: “Removing the barriers faced by persons with disabilities requires informed action from all stakeholders. The tech and mobile industry, for example, need to consider accessibility needs and methods early on, and increase the numbers of persons with disabilities in the development and testing process. By doing so, we can make meaningful change and ensure inclusion in an increasingly digital world.” Monica Desai, Global Head of Connectivity and Access Policy, Facebook, shared some of the company’s recent initiatives and innovations in this area, including the GAAD pledge that Facebook took last year and the commitment to making the React Native open source framework fully accessible.

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