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Assistive Technology Innovative Center Mada Opens In Qatar

Mada a non-profit organization, which opened in Qatar to the public on June 1, 2010 and is located on the seventh floor of Al Nasr Tower, is a new Center for an Assistive Technology that is accessible to all people in Qatar living with disabilities. 9-6-2010-1Mada is an innovative center that endeavors to connect people with disabilities to the information and communications technologies (ICT) that can empower them to excel in all aspects of their life.”For someone living with a disability, integrating into a work place, or learning in a classroom is often a challenge. But with the of use Assistive Technologies, many of these challenges can be overcome, and people with disabilities can become full participants in all facets of society,” said David Banes, Deputy Director, at the official launch of Mada. “We invite all people with disabilities and their families to visit our center and discover the variety of Assistive Technologies available.” A numerous organizations supporting people with disabilities in Qatar in both the public and private sectors have been a valuable resource in the development of the center, and will play a major role in identifying cutting-edge Assistive Technologies and referring people to Mada.

An interactive resource center is included, which highlights the latest Assistive Technologies (AT) and offers personal consultations for people with disabilities to identify the AT solutions that fit their needs the best, and also training on how to use the various technologies. Eye gaze control systems, one of the technologies exhibited at Mada, which allow individuals to control a computer and communicate with only the movement of their eyes; accessible mobile phones adapted for a range of disabilities; a wide variety of screen readers; and augmented and alternative communication technologies, which help replace written and spoken communication. “The opening of Mada is an important milestone for helping Qatar to be truly equitable and accessible for all. Mada is the result of tireless efforts by its talented team and the support of its many public and private partners here in Qatar. I am truly inspired by the work Mada is doing to bring the benefits of technology to those with disabilities and look forward to watching the center evolve and act as a model of excellence for the entire region,” said ictQATAR’s Secretary General, Dr. Hessa Al-Jaber, who played an integral role in establishing Mada and serves as the Chair of its Board of Directors. Al-Jaber is joined on the Board of Directors by H.H. Sheikha Hessa bint Khalifa Al Thani, former United Nations Special Rapporteur on Disability; Hassan Ali Bin Ali, Chairman, Shaffalah Center; Ali Shareef Al Emadi, Group CEO, Qatar National Bank; Dr. Nasser Marafih, CEO, Qtel; Grahame Maher, CEO, Vodafone Qatar; and Mohammed Hammoudi, Country Manager, Microsoft.

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