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Persons with hearing impairment received ECDL certificates
18/03/09

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International Aid Network IAN presented the results of the project Professional empowerment of deaf and hard of hearing persons at the press conference held on the 18 th of March 2009. IAN realised the project in partnership with the Serbian Association of deaf and hard of hearing persons. Financial support to the project was provided by the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy and Microsoft Serbia . The project started in June 2008 and ended in March 2009. It provided the opportunity for 35 people with hearing impairment to acquire knowledge and skills required in modern working environment and at the local labour market, which would help them find a job or apply for better positions.

The project has been inspired by the measures from the Strategy for Employment within the National Poverty Reduction Strategy that recommend encouraging employment and activation of persons with disabilities. The measures include increasing access of these persons to education and enabling them to acquire higher levels of knowledge and professional skills through designing more versatile education programmes.

With this project IAN created an education programme that included intensive trainings in IAN Computer school, and social skills courses, and for those interested in initiating own business, entrepreneurship courses were organised. The lectures were held with the assistance of a sign language interpreter. Beneficiaries had a chance to gain knowledge harmonised with modern economic trends. They acquired computer skills needed in a modern office environment. For the knowledge demonstrated in the field of information technologies and use of personal computers, and for passing the appropriate tests the participants were awarded certificates at the ceremony after the press conference. 17 beneficiaries acquired the international ECDL certificate (European Computer Driving License) . Nine of them passed the basic package of 4 exams and got ECDL Start certificate, and 8 of them passed all 7 exams and received ECDL Full certificate. Three most successful beneficiaries became certified ECDL testers, which means that they could be engaged in future projects of IAN and other organisations which have the component of computer education and taking ECDL exams for persons with hearing impairment.

At the social skills courses the trainees learned to write a CV and how to find and apply for jobs using IT technologies. In addition, a set of basic trainings in entrepreneurship was organised.

With their extraordinary motivation, interest and by the success achieved the beneficiaries showed that such and similar programmes and important and needed for this target group and they contribute to raising their education level and increasing their chances at the labour market thus leading to their better social inclusion.

Milan Kabiljo, a young unemployed forestry engineer, one of the programme participants said at the conference: "The programme like this is necessary and useful for young people, especially persons with disabilities, in order to facilitate their easier employment. I am convinced that by applying the knowledge we gained it would be easier and quicker for us to find a job within our field of expertise. I would like to thank IAN for good training conditions, lecturers who were experts and always ready to give additional explanations."

Ensuring real access to education and employment is essential for enabling equal participation of deaf and hard of hearing persons in life and work of the community. Without access to knowledge, people with hearing impairment cannot ensure adequate employment, which leads to lifelong dependency, poverty and social exclusion, and all this ads up to the existing stigma.

Contact person Gordana Stankov Stojilovic

 

 


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