16th October is the International VIP Day in Iran and SAF VIP Group organised a meeting for this special day. Established in 1999, SAF VIP Group has been actively involved in numerous projects for the blind and VIP community in Iran. The meeting was attended by Mrs. Pari Zanganeh, the renowned Iranian singer and Mrs. Torfeh, one of the main benefactors of SAF. Messrs. Rezaiee, Izadi and Dustdar representatives of VIP Group gave an overview of the Group's activities and its achievements, as well as their plans for the coming years.
Picture of the people attending the meeting: Seated from left to right: Mr. Izadi(VIP member), Ms. Zanganeh, Mr. Rezaiee(VIP coordinator). Standing from left to right: Mr. Lajevardi(SAF Board member), Mr. Basij(staff), Mr. Parham Doostdar(VIP Student member), Mrs. Mohaqeq(SAF Manager), Ms. Abnar(staff)
VIPs lack the sense of seeing and they need to compensate this through other means. Thanks to computers and internet technology, new windows of communication have been opened for VIPs and with technological advances, the options for them continue to increase. These advanced technologies benefit VIPs in particular, as it is believed that one of the main problems for VIPs is communication and they can be assisted to overcome this with the help of computers and changing technology.
According to Mrs. Mohaqeq, the Managing Director of SAF "We need to know Japanese to be able to communicate with Japanese people. Language is key to communication. As communication is one of the most pressing issues for the blind and VIPs, we need to find appropriate solutions and proper means of communication for them. We should find the special languages which is required."
The meeting lasted for two hours during which representatives of SAF VIP Group provided details of their activities and current projects. Mrs. Zanganeh found the work of the Group very interesting and admirable, and agreed to work with them on at least one of their project for blind people in Kashan.
Mrs. Zanganeh believes that "the public need to be better informed about VIPs and blind people. To put it in other words, VIPs are capable to achieve so much but they are still not fully accepted by the society, as often people do not know how to treat them. On the other hand, VIPs should have the best training possible in order for them to be able to play a positive and active role in the society. "
Important achievements to date by SAF VIP Group:
Deploying the use of ordinary computers and PCs,
which are cheaper and more accessible, particularly as employers are
reluctant to incur additional costs for special computers designed for VIPs.
In Mr. Rezaiee's words, ordinary computers connect the blind to the world and narrow the gap with the sighted people's world.
The first release of Farsi page reader
Providing employment opportunities with the help of IT
Providing free books for learning how to use information technology in real life.
Establishing computer center and providing training for teachers
Establishing a phone line to help VIPs overcome their problems with computers and use of IT.
Supporting Iranian blind people in other countries (UK, Dubai, Germany)
Agreement with Language Institute Centers to provide free education for VIPs.
Establishing VIP's website
Providing free internet
Developing theories on teaching the blind, which were represented in IEEE conference in Russia
Equipping cell phones with TOX software
Cell phones are really important means of communication for blind people. They can do many things such as reading signs and bill boards in the street.
Future Works include:
Localisation of software
Making TOX more suitable for Iranian VIPs
Making the accounting applications more suitable for the use of VIPs
Training VIPs and blind people for working opportunities in an office
Educating them with required software at work place
Collection and using the experiences of the blind
These kinds of experiences are so valuable and can not be found from sighted people. For example how a blind person can play skipping in the yard and not fall down the steps? He or she could use a radio; put it close to the steps. Whenever the sound of the radio becomes louder, he/she will know that he/she had come too close to the steps.
How a blind could understand whether his/her cell phone is completely charged or not? He/she can feel the battery; if it is cold it indicates that the charging process is complete.
These are creative, interesting and useful experiences which are not often found by sighted people. As they do not experience the problems faced by the blind, their approach to solving these problems are often more complicated.
... Payvand News - 03/23/09 ... --