According to the World Health Organization (WHO) over 5% of the world’s population, 360 million people, have disabling hearing loss. Majority of these people live in developing countries and have never been to school. The deaf, just like other people with disabilities, are constantly exposed to challenges when seeking to access education and professional careers. For example, in many countries in Asia-Pacific, sign language programmes are still not included in schools; this marginalizes even further people with disabilities and prevents them from accessing information, communicating with others and exercising their fundamental human rights.
When available, Information Communication Technology (ICT) has indeed the potential of opening up unprecedented opportunities for deaf people by facilitating their active participation in social, cultural, economic and political life. This year, with the support of the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (MICT) of Thailand and in collaboration with APTN and New Media4D, CCDKM has organized and delivered a series of trainings on Graphic Design and media presentation skills. 76 deaf students from Chiang Mai, Nakhon Nayok, Nakhon Ratchasima, Nakhon Si Thammarat have been trained on how to use Graphic Design Software such as GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) to create their own media presentations.
“During school hours, we are many in the classroom and teachers do not often have the time to slow down and explain topics in depth. I sometimes find it difficult to catch up with lessons. This extra curriculum training, however, taught me the practical design skills that I can apply to my future career. I will use my new Graphic Design skills to produce creative leaflets and media presentations to promote my family business”, said Kwan from Nakhon Nayok.
Students have been also exposed to the Computer Crime Act B.E. 2550 (2007) and the implications of freely expressing their views and opinions online. The skills gained during this training and the ability to create multimedia presentations by combining text, signs, and pictures have empowered them to extend their knowledge and use of language without being bounded to the spoken word.