To commemorate International Girls in ICT Day 2015, the Telecommunications Authority of Trinidad and Tobago (TATT) hosted a one day workshop and mini exhibition for approximately one hundred girls and young women with disabilities. The primary objective of the event was to encourage these young women to maximize the use of ICTs to achieve their academic goals and encourage them to pursue careers in this area.
At the start of the event the young women were encouraged to consider careers in ICT. This encouragement came from Ms Sherry McMillan, Executive Officer Communications, Consumer and Information Services at TATT, who in her opening address indicated her desire to see the young women gain successful positions in the male dominated ICT industry.
These remarks were followed by an inspirational talk by Ms. Veera Bhajan, founder of Footprints Foundation. Ms Bhajan shared her incredible personal story of success, persistence, determination and hard work to achieve her dream of becoming an Attorney at Law, though faced with many challenges, one being born without arms. She informed the girls and young women that although she faced challenges in life, she never once focused on her disability but rather the multiple abilities she possessed.
TATT provided opportunities for the young women to be informed about assistive technologies and training programmes and tailored for persons with disabilities and available at public institutions.
A representative from one such institution, the Youth Training and Employment Partnership Programme (YTEPP), Mrs. Radha Sugremsingh, presented on available ICT training programmes and demonstrated a range of assistive technologies available on its ICT Mobile Bus. The bus designed to be accessed by persons with disabilities, is outfitted with assistive technologies. Students visiting the bus at the end of the event were keen and thrilled at the equipment available and had the opportunity to test these devices.
During the workshop the young women were given the opportunity to provide practical information to assist TATT in the roll out of one of its Universal Service initiatives aimed at facilitating access to basic telecommunications services by persons with disabilities in Trinidad and Tobago.
The workshop segment was facilitated by Ms. Annie Baldeo, TATT’s Executive Officer Policy, Pricing and Market Research (Ag) who presented to the audience the organization’s plans to provide assistive technologies and equipment to persons with disabilities through the Universal Service Programme.
The young women gave very valuable feedback after the presentation on the technologies and equipment they determined will be most suitable to access mobile telecommunications services to meet their daily needs.
There was much excitement as the young women visited the exhibition to learn of other career and training options for persons with disabilities from the other institutions participating in the event.
It was observed that these girls and young women not only enjoyed the day’s activities but were also thankful to TATT for choosing to empowering persons with various disabilities through its Girls in ICT Day 2015 workshop/mini exhibition.