I became quadriplegic due to a work accident in
Before my accident I was living with my daughter.
After my accident my daughter had to go and live
with her aunt and she could only visit me
In 2003 I had to move from my home to a medical
residential institute called the Sim-Patia Institute
where I was told I’d have to stay for the rest of my
life due to my physical condition.
As a result I had to give up all my hobbies and
interests. I started to isolate myself from others
and the world around me.
In 2005 the Sim-Patia Institute was equipped with
new computer technology and software provided by
My interest in computer technology as a result of
the QualiWORLD system gave me hope and I started to
work at the reception desk of the Institute.
Right now, my days are concentrated on physical
rehabilitation and the use of the computer.
Specifically I use a personal laptop with QualiWORLD,
and I use my head movements to control the mouse.
I am much happier and interested in life and I
cannot live without technology anymore.
Because of the computer, I have started to
communicate remotely via audio calls offered by
QualiWORLD, SMS and E-mails.
I am looking for a home where I can live by myself
and have my daughter back with me.
My detailed objectives are now to find an interior
balance and mental calm in my life, improve my
physical situation, renew my relationships with my
daughter and friends and become more independent
with advanced technology such as video calls,
entertainment, tele-work and home automation.
I believe I can do all of this because of computers
Now I will show you how I use a computer.
National Technology Officer, Microsoft South Africa
Yasmin Forbes joined Microsoft South Africa as the
national technology officer in 2007. It’s a role
that sees her responsible for working with
government and academic elites on key areas of
technology policy – such as security, privacy,
economic development, interoperability and open
standards, and technical computing.
In a South African context, Yasmin works closely
with all levels of the national government across
key initiatives such as improving service delivery,
skills development and broadening digital inclusion.
This gels strongly with her passion for using
technology as an enabler of broad scale community
Prior joining Microsoft, Yasmin ran her own business
consultancy. Before that, she worked for HP South
Africa as the branch manager in the Western Cape, as
well as the public sector account manager
responsible for initiating and developing the
high-performance computing business for HP in SA.
Yasmin has also worked at several other leading
South African and multinational IT companies,
gaining experience in distribution, channel sales,
the public sector, oil & gas, education, and new
Claudio Giugliemma is the founder and CEO of
QualiLife Inc., a Swiss company specializing in the
development and distribution of award-winning
software solutions. With over 20 years of experience
in IT development, in the past nine years he has
focused on accessibility and usability. In the year
2000, he founded QualiLife; its main goal is to
provide a new generation of software solutions that
can make all technologies fully accessible to
anyone, regardless of age, ability and knowledge.
This new approach has measurably increased the use
of computers in several areas, including the home,
the work environment, in hospitals, retirement
homes, and so on. Claudio Giugliemma believes that
technology should serve the people, not the
Mick Owens has a wealth of experience in
communications regulation, gained through over 30
years experience in diverse roles within the
Australian Government. Mick has enjoyed working with
national and international governments, industry
representatives and consumers, providing high-level
advisory, technical and practical problem solving
Over the past two years, Mick has managed ACMA’s
International Section and overseen the
organisation’s International Training Program. The
program attracted participants from around the
globe, who had the opportunity to learn first hand
about ACMA’s regulatory approach to the contemporary
converging communications environment. The program
was designed to provide a valuable forum for
exchanging ideas, sharing knowledge and discussing
Mick has played a significant role in a number of
other key consumer information and technical
projects. Working within ACMA’s Consumer Division,
he developed a range of practical consumer guides
and interactive toolkits on fixed phones, mobiles
and the internet. These proved very popular with
consumers, providing useful information and advice
on selecting the product or service that would best
suit their needs.
Mick also worked in an advisory capacity on the
Analogue Mobile Phone Closure Information Campaign
for Australia, enabling consumers to move seamlessly
across from the old analogue mobile phone system to
the new digital services.
Hina Patel,South Africa (ITU Member State)
Hina Patel is from the CSIR Meraka
Institute and studied Computer Science at the University of Royal Holloway
in London. She is currently Strategic Research Manager of the Meraka
Institute as well as Competence Area manager for the Information Society R&D
area in the Meraka Institute. Ms. Patel has been working in the Information
and Communication Technology (ICT) in disability area since 2003 and is the
National Accessibility Portal (NAP) initiative leader. Her work is primarily
focussed on strengthening the science and technology base of the Institute
in support of its goals to improve quality of life of South Africans and the
people of the continent through technology.
Convener, Joint Coordination Activity on Accessibility and Human Factors (JCA-AHF), ITU
Andrea Saks is a known advocate for ICTs for persons with disabilities.
Her father, Andrew Saks, together with James C. Marsters and Robert
Weitbrecht were pioneers of deaf telecommunications using surplus
teletypewriters and modems – the precursors of textphones and today’s
real-time text messaging. She grew in a family of two deaf parents and
assisted them from an early age as their interface with the hearing world:
getting doctors’ appointments, arranging guests’ visits, etc.
She took that role to the next level when she relocated from the US to the
UK in 1972 to promote the use of textphones internationally. She was able to
successfully lobby the British Government Post Office (the then-regulator of
telecommunications) to allow the first transatlantic textphone conversation
(1975) and to grant a license for connection of text telephones on the
regular telephone network.
Her first involvement with ITU standardization activity started in 1991 and
has ever since increased in scope. Self-funded, she currently attends many
ITU-T study group and focus group meetings promoting the inclusion of
accessibility functionality in systems being standardized by ITU, such as
multimedia conferencing, cable, IPTV and NGN. After the recent creation of
ITU-D Q20/1 on accessibility matters by WTDC-06, she also started attending
that group and now performs as a bridge between the two sectors on the
She has been a key person in the creation of all accessibility events in
ITU, and currently is the convener of the recently formed joint coordination
activity on accessibility and human factors, as well as the coordinator of
the Internet Governance Forum’s Dynamic Coalition on Accessibility and