Washington, DC – Disability rights advocates around the globe can now access a newly launched tool for finding the knowledge and toolkits they need: the Global Disability Rights Library (GDRL) at http://gdrl.org . A prototype “test” version of this library is being made available both on-line and off-line so that users can share feedback with the GDRL team on improving the library.
The GDRL is a collaborative effort between the U.S. International Council on Disabilities (USICD) and the University of Iowa’s WiderNet Project with funding support from USAID. It is working to bring the best materials on disability rights and the convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to developing countries, particularly to locations with limited internet access.
“We are excited to be able to begin sharing the prototype version of the Global Disability Rights Library with the public because we need everyone’s help in making it an outstanding resource,” says Andrea Shettle, GDRL program manager at USICD. “Disability rights advocates, policy makers, and other stakeholders in developing countries deserve easier access to a rich body of digital knowledge. These websites, videos, and electronic publications can support their work in improving the lives of people with disabilities in developing countries. The GDRL is still very much a work in progress. We need disabled people’s
organizations, service providers, government personnel, families, and people with disabilities around the world to start using it and telling us how they want us to improve the library.”
Under the current USAID funding grant, 60 organizations, universities, and agencies in developing countries with limited internet access will receive a free off-line version of the digital library in an eGranary. An eGranary is a hard drive with an extensive collection of digital resources. An eGranary also has an interface that emulates the appearance and function of the web without
requiring actual internet access. So far, a total of 27 deployment sites have been selected. This includes four locations in Ethiopia, Nigeria, Peru, and Zambia that will join on-line users in closely reviewing the prototype version of the library. The GDRL team will use feedback from the first four deployment sites, along with feedback from on-line users, to improve the library before disseminating it via eGranaries to the other deployment sites. Another 33 deployment sites will be selected after the final September 1, 2011 application deadline. An on-line application form is at http://www.widernet.org/digitallibrary/GDRLSiteSelection/ .
People who do have internet access can now visit the on-line version of the prototype GDRL at
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Nonprofit Launched to Bring Free Accessibility Worldwide
The AIR Foundation committed to ‘accessibility is a right’
Orlando, Florida – January 31, 2008 – The AIR Foundation, a nonprofit organization headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA was announced today at a press conference held during the Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA) 2008 National Conference at the Caribe Royale Resort in Orlando, Florida. The mission of the foundation is to promote universal accessibility so that every blind and low-vision person in the world has access to digital information over the Internet and Worldwide Web.
The foundation’s executive director, Art Schreiber, also announced that the organization’s first offering will be free usage of a Web 2.0 accessible screen reader. The product is provided through an exclusive license in perpetuity granted to The AIR Foundation from Serotek Corporation, the leading provider of Internet and digital information accessibility software and services. The screen reader is called SA To Go and is powered by Serotek’s award-winning System Access software which provides immediate text to speech, magnified visual, and Braille access to digital information presented through the Web or other means, while the user is directly connected to the Internet. The software does not remain resident on the user’s computer when the connection to the Internet is interrupted or terminated. Users can obtain access to the free software by calling 877-369-0101 or visiting www.AccessibilityIsaRight.org http://www.accessibilityisaright.org/
“The basic tenet of The AIR Foundation is that accessibility is a fundamental human right, regardless of financial or geographic constraints” said Art Schreiber, executive director of The AIR Foundation, “by allowing the blind and visually impaired to have equal access to computer and Internet information through the free use of an advanced screen reader like SA To Go, we have already taken great strides toward our mission.”
The AIR Foundation will solicit funds and contract development of product enhancements including availability in other languages. The organization’s first priority is to make SA To Go available in Mandarin Chinese.
“SA To Go is highly intuitive and requires minimal training to use,” said Serotek CEO, Mike Calvo, “the user not only has access to information displayed on Web pages, but to Web-based applications such as Internet telephone service, and to applications resident on the host computer. The user can also access PDF files, fill out forms, and otherwise interact with information with the same facility as a sighted person.”
The AIR Foundation will operate through the generosity of organizations donating their time, expertise, and funds. It invites other nonprofits, assistive technology vendors, mainstream hardware and software companies and anyone interested in promoting accessibility as every person’s right, to align with the AIR team.
The AIR Foundation
The AIR Foundation is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to advocate, teach, and deliver information accessibility tools. We focus on the accessibility needs of blind and low-vision people. Our mantra is “accessibility is a right” and we work with corporations and agencies worldwide to deliver free accessibility to all. For more information, call 877-369-0101 or visit http://www.accessibilityisaright.org/
Serotek Corporation is a leading technology company that develops software and manufactures accessibility solutions. Committed to the mission of providing accessibility anywhere, Serotek launched the first online community specifically designed to meet the needs of people with disabilities. Since then, Serotek has introduced several powerful, affordable solutions that require minimal training and investment. For more information, visit http://www.serotek.com/.
This press release was first posted at the Air Foundation web site. It has also been circulated on several on-line newsletters and mailing lists, incluing AdHoc_IDC, the DPI newsletter, and Intl-Dev.
People interested in technology for people with vision impairments may also wish to learn more about the Sightsaver’s Dolphin Pen, which is a low-cost screenreader targeted at people in developing countries, or in information about low-cost, mechanical Braille writers.
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