Ministry of Information Technology (MoIT) recently joined hands with Pakistan’s information sector to work together on the development of the new interactive and innovative apps that can be used for mentally challenged individuals. The Ministry of Information Technology has decided to fund different private startups under the umbrella of which these privately-working startups would work on and create specifically designed applications for the target market.
As per different resources, especially industry analysts and experts are of the view that it’s a very good initiate for socioeconomic inclusion of such individuals who needs a proper platform for learning and working. Having these apps can bring a needed change in the society and in the lives of these individuals.
To promote such start-ups, according to details, the Ministry of Information Technology has allocated Rs.124 million for the proper training. The investment in start-ups are done under Ignite, which was formally known as the National ICT R&D Fund.
As per the World Bank recent report, almost 15% of the world’ s total population suffers from some sort of physical and mental impairments, that too with higher prevalence in the developing countries. Also, one-fifth of the estimated global total, or between 110 million and 190 million people, experience significant disabilities.
On average and as a separate entity/group, people with physical and mental impairments are more likely to experience adverse socioeconomic outcomes than people without such impairments or physical and mental challenges. These may include less education, no access to food and health facilities, poorer health outcome, unemployment and extremely higher levels of poverty rates.
There are already some apps launched for the target market. In 2016, five apps received the PTA Mobile App Award which is a great achievement in itself. One of them was “Smart Devices” which helps people with impairments to switch on/off electrical appliances such as fans, lights, etc. without having the need to get up and to it every time. This app made it easier and convenient for such people to get hold of their daily routine basic tasks.
Another Android-based voice application “Tell Me” was launched, it helps people with visual impairment to get to know about their surroundings.
There is another app available on Google Play Store with a name of “Roll Out”, it provides information about all the restaurants and hotels that facilitate physically-challenged individuals.
Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) can make significant improvements in the lives of people who are physically or mentally challenged. The start-ups have the potential to enable these people to enhance their social, cultural, political and economic integration into communities by enlarging the scope of activities available to them.
“We employ innovation to help fellow citizens, challenged by impairments, to lead engaged and fulfilling lives,” commented national technology fund Ignite CEO Yusuf Hussain.