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Friend’s Hand: Volunteers Teach the Blind to Operate Personal Computer

Friend’s Hand: Volunteers Teach the Blind to Operate Personal Computer
Friend’s Hand: Volunteers Teach the Blind to Operate Personal Computer
IATP Center located at the Archangelsk Regional Scientific Library in Honor of Dobrolyubov keeps on teaching computer courses to the blind.

An idea to work with the blind first appeared back in 2004 when Project Harmony brought Andrei Dumchev (a famous instructor who works with the blind in Vladivostok region) to Archangelsk. Later on a handicapped from Archangelsk Vasily Dozhuk all by himself learned basic computer skills and became confident to teach his peers. Project Harmony supported the “Blind PC Users” project within December 2004 and July 2005 period. The project trained 12 handicapped in Archangelsk, Novodvinsk, Severodvinsk and Velsk how to integrate Internet technology in their everyday life.

Another library-based project called “Friend’s Hand: Volunteers Teach the Blind to Operate Personal Computer” won “Vozmyemsya” Volunteer Projects Award granted by British American Tobacco Company in Russia in 2005. The project is aimed at integrating the blind into modern society through teaching them computer technology. The goals of the projects are: to set an example of how social problems of handicapped can be solved by a volunteer effort, to draw public attention to the blind, to consolidate the problem solving efforts and to provide the blind with a free access to Internet technology.

In February 2006 volunteers (family members, library and social intuitions staff) attended 4 seminars and administered a 48-hour computer course to obtain necessary computer operating skills and to learn how they can train the blind. Each trainer will start supervising one blind user starting this March with assistance of physiologists and IT instructors. The curriculum consists of 60 academic hours and is designed for a 10-week period.

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