On the 10th anniversary of the Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD), GSMA and Facebook hosted a virtual industry discussion with industry leaders from countries such as Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, etc. The discussion was primarily focused on how the latest technological advancements could be leveraged to aid people facing disabilities.
Presently, people facing disabilities are able to move up in the world due to a lack of opportunities and respective services. This is where Assistive Technologies (ATs) come into play which is basically instruments that help such people overcome the physical and social barriers of disability. These instruments are designed to provide people more access to opportunities. The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) highlighted that every person with a disability has the right to access ATs.
As of now, there are 690 million people facing disabilities in the APAC region however the amount of ATs is very few. As a result, the discussion highlighted necessary actions to be taken in order to remove the barriers disabled people are facing and ensure innovation aimed at leveraging benefits for humanity.
Moreover, Micheal Nique, Senior Director at GSMA Assistive Tech mentioned the following:
“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.”