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Challenge in Korea

Sailosi Batiratu
Saturday, November 10, 2012

DURING the month of October the focus was Fiji Day, for some, Fiji Fashion Week and for some students, it was their external examinations.

For three of our compatriots, Soloveni Vitoso from Pacific Disability Forum (PDF), Luisa Miracle Tinai and Leslie Tikotikoca from the Fiji Disabled Peoples Federation (FDPF), it was about preparing for and taking part in the Global IT (information technology) Challenge for Youth with Disabilities that was held in Songdo, Incheon City, the Republic of Korea late last month.

A statement from the Fiji Disabled Peoples Federation said a total of 321 youth with disabilities from 28 countries from all over the world gathered at the Song Do Convensia.

The Global IT Challenge for Youth with Disabilities aims to bridge the digital divide among youth in various countries through enhancing youths' IT skills, and office opportunities for youths with disabilities to participate in societies.

"To support and encourage the participation of youths with disabilities in societies, 'Global IT Challenge for Youth with Disabilities' aimed at being selected as a new agenda for an upcoming decade and achieving partnerships for co-operation between countries in the Asia/Pacific region," it said.

Part of the two-day global challenge was the IT Contest. This particular event looked at e-life (web browsing), e-tool (word process) and e-sports (online games).

Vitoso said: "The development of information technology (IT) has turned impossibility into a possibility. Progress of information technology has led to a smart IT revolution all over the world and guided persons with disabilities to a world that does possess more possibility.

"The event enabled youth with disabilities to tap into their own potential possibility by challenging others and at the same time enjoy communication with their peers via IT.

"The challenge was not about winning but was more of a guide for youth with disabilities to a wider world, leading them to become mature and future global IT leaders.

"During the event, officials and IT Experts exchanged policies to resolve the digital issue regarding persons with disabilities in the IT Policy Exchange Seminar," he said.

Tinai, who enjoyed her visit and gained during the learning experience had to adjust to the change of food and weather and face the little difficulty there was in communication.

"I learnt to be more independent especially for a person with disability. This training motivated me to be more outspoken."

"I was able to interact with persons with disabilities from Nepal, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tonga, Samoa, PNG, Solomons, Korea and Nepal," she said.

Participants were placed in different groups based on the different types of disabilities while the host volunteers were well trained on how to react to persons with the different types of disabilities. Despite the challenges posed by the cold conditions faced in Korea, Tinai who missed the warm Fiji weather was able to place her disability aside and focus on and gain more on her abilities.

"I can now teach persons with disabilities in my organisation and my country on IT skills in a more simplified manner," she said.

Tinai, a person with physical disability is seeking a sponsorship to complete her studies.

The Global IT Challenge for Youth with Disabilities was an official associated event of Incheon International Conferences on Disability (IICD) and the Korean Society for Rehabilitation of Persons with Disabilities (KSRPD) had organised this workshop.

The KRSPD was established in 1954 for the purpose of encouraging persons with disabilities to participate in society and to create an atmosphere where they are treated with dignity and respect on an equal basis.

KSRPD's invitation included the expenses of airfare, accommodation and meals for the three participants. The Asia Pacific 3rd Decade for Persons with Disabilities 2013-2023 was also launched on November 1 in Korea.

This decade is to focus on addressing the remaining challenges by empowering and strengthening the engagement of persons with disabilities.

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