Blind`s Accessibility Tools Project (BatPro) – Computers for blind people
The project aims to create a simple computer application, designed for people with visual impairment who are not familiar with computer use.
The project was initiated four years ago by Lions Club Arad, who won a grant from Fundatia Orange, to further develop the software and this program The association (with its members and partners) get the PCs and installs an application for people with visual impairments and blind people.
It allows the user to go through the whole menu with only four keys (up, down, left and right) and access to a collection of 40,000 audio books, news from the websites of several newspapers (local and national), information on the Internet, online radio stations, information on weather or currency exchange .
The application also contains games and an interactive program developed specifically for the blind, with which they will learn how to use the entire keyboard.
Familiarizing visually impaired and blind people, over 45 years old, with the computer and the internet, helping them browse for required information.
HOW THE OBJECTIVES WERE ACHIEVED
We have successfully installed the BatPro software over 100 computers nation wide and we donated the computers with the software installed to the Romanian Blind Association in several cities through out Romania.
The internet made easy for blind.The only thing he has to do is push the power button on the computer. The software loads automatically, a computer voice guides the user through the menu by using only four keys, the arrows on the keyboard. This way user can access all needed information. Then can simply push the power button, all processes closed and the computer shuts down.
Blind people over 45 years old are usually trapped in their houses with the radio as a sole source of information. This project dramatically improves their life quality by allowing them to select the information they want, when they want. BatPro is a project that has a major impact not only on the direct beneficiaries but on their families as well, therefore it has a significant impact on the whole community.
Greatest challenge was to develop a system easy enough so it could be used by a blind person that never used a computer. Developing the right text-to-speach engine, integrating the audio library, fixing the computers, installing the software, deliver it to the visually impaired and blind beneficiaries and providing them with tech support were also some of the challenges we've encountered.
It's not that easy to improve someone's life. It take a lot of will and a lot of effort but the results are simply amazing. We learnt that people needs small things to be happy and the joy is same big for those who receive and give, when this is done from deep your heart. Seeing the smile on a blind persons face when they touch a computer for the first time is the absolute reward one needs. We can do more and we have to do more for those less fortunate than us.