By Dee-Dee Atta (Service Provider Marketing Manager, Cisco)
People who are hearing impaired in developing countries often lack formal special education opportunities. This can severely limit their means of communication and economic future. With Internet connections and mobile networks necessary within Colombia, people are able to access video-based software programs designed to educate hearing impaired people.As a result, this improves quality of life for hearing impaired individuals and their families by creating new opportunities to learn and overcome obstacles related to their disability.
Globally, 360 million people are hearing impaired with 32 million of those being children (source: World Health Organization, WHO 2013, Aug 19, 2013). Socioeconomic challenges and limited access to education services inhibits this group’s ability to participate on an equal basis with others. In developing countries, hearing impaired children rarely receive the education necessary for them to thrive.
Service Providers play a key role in connecting people to information previously unavailable due to limited Internet and mobile access. By providing the Internet connections and mobile network necessary, access to specialty education programs designed for hearing impaired people become more available for those in need. In fact across Latin America, there will be 940 million mobile-connected devices in 2017. This represents approximately 1.5 per capita for this region/country.
Special needs education programs like Hablando Con Julis, created in Colombia, provide education opportunities with downloadable software. Service Providers bring the Internet and mobile network to developing countries worldwide allowing education programs like Hablando Con Julis to reach the larger hearing impaired audience. This software was created to give the hearing impaired the opportunity to communicate and advance academically. The software is available from any IP-enabled device and is offered in English and Spanish. Through these connections, access to education and vocational services are improved, giving hearing impaired children and adults the foundation to communicate and participate in the economic development of their community.
Hablando Con Julis has used the foundation of Service Provider connections – the Internet – to provide access to specialty education software through a computer or a mobile device. Through these connections, the Internet of Everything’s mission to connect the unconnected is realized: those affected with hearing loss are able to take advantage of specialty learning opportunities and improve their quality of life. As more connections are made with education software similar to Hablando Con Julis, the hearing impaired community will continue to benefit.
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