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Title:Reclaiming public spaces: Issues of visibility in ICT training for persons with disabilities in Latin America
Author(s):Frix, Michele Maureen; Pal, Joyojeet; Neff, Phil
Latin America
Abstract:As technology becomes more and more ubiquitous in the workplace and within social interactions, interest in the role of technology for the disabled has increased—first, in accessible design of technology itself, and second in the role of technology to enable people with disabilities to more fully participate in society. While work regarding accessible technology and disability has been conducted, it has been quite limited to developed countries. In this paper, we examine the use and perceived value of computer training centers throughout Latin America in order to understand how these services fit within the larger issues around employability and socio-economic exclusion of people with disabilities in society. We draw from in-depth research conducted with computer center users as part of the Organization of American States’ POETA program in Mexico, Guatemala, Ecuador and Venezuela, as well as contrast such technical services with Colombian libraries which have sought to increase accessible technical services as a means of including people with disabilities in the broader public sphere. Using interviews with program and library administrators and users with disabilities, we explore the impacts of such training courses on employability, socio-economic exclusion of people with disabilities, and visibility of persons with disabilities in society. We find that libraries are a key point of discussion of the provision of technical training for people with disabilities when considering the perception that libraries are neutral, “safe spaces” in society which could allow for creating greater institutional awareness regarding the rights of people with disabilities.
Issue Date:2010-02-03
Date Available in IDEALS:2010-02-19

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