06 July 2020

Assistive Products and Inclusive Supplies

The challenge, Children with disabilities are one of the most marginalized groups in society, facing daily discrimination that bars them from enjoying their rights and participating on an equal basis with the rest of society. Globally, there’s a lack of access to products that support children with disabilities, such as hearing aids, mobility aids (i.e.…, The response, UNICEF is working to ensure assistive and inclusive supplies are available and accessible worldwide, including introducing new assistive products to programmes, and increasing advocacy efforts to gain a global consensus for assistive technology.  This includes introducing 24 new products into the Supply Catalogue , among them eight different types…, 240 million children , equivalent to 1 in 10 of the world's children live with one or more disabilities worldwide. An icon of a wheelchair and a hearing aid, 24 new assistive products  , included in the UNICEF Supply Catalogue, including wheelchairs and hearing aids.  An icon of a document, 2 new joint UNICEF-WHO publications , setting the standards for the procurement of assistive technology products., The impact, Assistive and inclusive products have a direct impact on the well-being of children with disabilities. Assistive technology supports their inclusion into society, thereby increasing the opportunities for education and employment. For example, a proper use of hearing aids leads young children to improved language skills. Or, an appropriate…, Join the Assistive Technology Advocates network, Assistive Technology Advocates (AT Advocates) is an established network of assistive technology professionals brought together by UNICEF and WHO. The network includes UNICEF and WHO colleagues, professionals from non-profit agencies and disability-related organizations as well as government officials working across education, rehabilitation and…, Resources, Stories and media coverage
14 June 2019

UNICEF Innovation Fund Graduate: Cireha

The UNICEF Innovation Fund is proud to see portfolio member, CIREHA, graduate. They’ve come a long way – from numerous product iterations to deep diving into understanding their ecosystem better, strengthening their business model, and gearing up to take their solution to market. They’re now ready to collaborate at a larger scale – as they find…, Reflections from the CIREHA team, Over the past 15 months,  our team has conducted three iterations of development and field testing of Cboard -- an AAC open source web application for children and adults with speech and language impairments, aiding communication with symbols and text-to-speech. During this time, we have grown our user-base to more than double our projected growth…,  , Open source is the reason why Cboard exists., Quickly after the GitHub project was created, people with different skill sets and backgrounds started to contribute in different areas of expertise. We were able to create a space within the open source community for programmers, designers, translators, users, and parents to collaborate on improving our solution.  , Challenges, Although open source has been integral in forming a large community of contributors to Cboard, maintaining a stable team committed to the long term project goals has been challenging. The infrastructure behind Cboard’s clean and simple interface is rather complex. The application supports a variety of users on multiple devices offering modes…
07 December 2017

UNICEF's Accessibility Portfolio: Spotlight on AAC

Today we’re proud to announce that after a highly competitive process,  CIREHA (Argentina) ,  Daokudai (China)  and  Ninaad Digital Technology (India)  have been selected to join the UNICEF Innovation Fund’s AAC cohort. Read more about our newest portfolio companies and what it means to be part of a UNICEF Innovation Fund Cohort below. In June,…, How We Got Here: Our Strategy, AAC technologies are meant to  help people with communication impairments supplement or replace existing speech, writing or nonverbal communication to express ideas, thoughts, and needs . They primarily consist of PECS (picture exchange communication systems) and text to speech applications to support standard AAC systems. Despite the saturation…,  , Assistive Communication Technologies Cohort:, Beijing Daokoudai UNICEF Innovation   Beijing Daokoudai [China] is developing Yuudee 2, an application being built to help children with autism develop complex sentence structures to express themselves and socially integrate. Find out more about their solution  here . CIREHA (Argentina) UNICEF Innovation   CIREHA [Argentina] is developing Cboard,…, Cultivating an AAC Ecosystem: The “Cohort Model”, The AAC call is the Innovation Fund’s first experiment in designing and launching a “cohort model”. What does this mean to us? By bringing together portfolio companies working in the same technology space, open source solutions are connected early on during their development phase. Companies are creating interoperable solutions that build on each…, Upcoming Cohort Calls, The Innovation Fund has put out a series of calls around different portfolio areas which include  Data Science ,  Virtual Reality  and Blockchain . Please look out for this through our social media channels and newsletter. Visit:  https://www.unicef.org/innovation/venturefund
23 July 2016

Creating to Change Lives of Children with Disabilities

From June 3rd to 5 th  2016, 7 teams consisting of  over 70 young people including designers, engineers, artisans, medical professionals and children with disabilities gathered on the campus of the Vietnam-German University (VGU) in Binh Duong, Vietnam to contribute to a better world. For 72 hours these youth participated in the inaugural  T.O.M:…, What’s TOM got to do with it?, Children with disabilities are among the most vulnerable and marginalized in Viet Nam. According to official statistics about 85% of Children with disabilities do not complete primary school and just one in five children with disabilities use special aids and devices. T.O.M, which stands for  Tikkun Olam Makers , is an initiative borne out of the…, PARTNERSHIPS, Bringing together 7 teams consisting of need knowers, students, and professionals, providing them with appropriate resources and guidance and keeping them nourished and motivated for 72 hours is no small feat, and it doesn’t happen without strong partnerships. The execution of the inaugural event included a multi-stakeholder approach, with…, It takes more than 72 hours from Design to Reality, Teams were initially gathered to meet each other and start the design process on May 8 th  in Ho Chi Minh City. There they worked to map out the challenges they faced, started the human-centred design process, and made paper and cardboard prototypes. One young maker observes the 3D printer to make sure it’s working correctly. One young maker…, Adaptations through user feedback, The Need Knowers didn’t arrive on site at VGU until the morning of the 4 th , but the teams worked hard through the night to get the initial products ready to test.  Upon testing, some of the teams realized that they needed to do quite a bit more work, or even start all over again! Others received feedback that the product worked well, but it didn…, Achieving Tikkun Olam, At the final celebration on the evening of June 5 th , the teams presented their products to the need knowers, peers, government officials, and a panel of distinguished judges. While the progress they made in just 72 hours is amazing, many of the products are not ready for everyday use. The teams have made the commitment to continue to move…, Next steps, From the very first meeting of partners, the goal was to spur the creation of a community of Makers doing good, to ensure that Children with Disabilities were included as contributors to the project, and that the end of the event was not the end of the product. While it is too early to say if any of these products will be commercially available,…
22 February 2016

Tuấn Nguyễn: Building a Jobs Website for the Blind

UPSHIFT has brought new opportunities to Vietnamese youth, specifically those from marginalized communities, to learn skills that they might need to bring about their own social impact projects. To think that the participants are the only ones that have benefited from the program is not entirely true. Those of us at Viet Youth Entrepreneurs (VYE…, The Blind IT Teacher, During this year’s outreach and workshop, we had the chance to meet Tuấn. Tuấn is a member of a project that aims to build a job-seeking website for the blind. Tuấn is a calm and collected person with an incredible sense of humor. He receives everyone’s respect and love at Thiên Ân Shelter for the blind in his role as the IT teacher. Tuấn’s…,  , From a personal perspective to the life experience of a blind person, Tuấn was not born blind. His family has a history of AMD (Age-Related Macular Degeneration), and he could not escape his fate with the condition. When he reached 19 years of age , his eyesight deteriorated significantly causing his loss of vision. At the time, he was a sophomore at University of Agriculture and Forestry and had to quit school…, How did Tuấn overcome his difficulties?, When Tuấn joined Thiên Ân Shelter he started making many friends and had the opportunity to learn about many assistive tools for blind people. Tuấn ultimately regained his motivation to continue studying. This time, Tuấn enrolled at the University of Pedagogy, Tuấn recorded all of his classes and listen to later, search for more materials on the…, How was the idea of a job-seeking website for the blind born?, Since he has lost his sight and experiencing the difficulties of the blind first hand, Tuấn has always wanted to do something about it. He hopes to create equal opportunities for blind people. He feels that blind people are only known for doing odd jobs in Vietnam, such as masseur, selling lottery tickets, or making handicrafts. Many blind people…
22 February 2016

Kim Van's Dream: Transportation for People with Disabilities

I still remember our first encounter with Kim Van, head of the “Assist People with Disabilities on Public Transportation” project, when we organized our first UPSHIFT outreach session at the Center for Disability Research & Capacity Development (DRD) in Vietnam. Van has weak leg muscles and is reliant on a wheelchair to move around but there…, A long way from home, on her own., Van is originally from Quang Nam, a small province 800 kilometers away from Ho Chi Minh City. Both Van and her brother have mobility disabilities. They were born with Polio, which is degenerative and continues to get worse with time, as her brother is. Due to her condition, Van has faced many complications in her educational journey. In grade…, The Struggle of People with Disabilities, When I asked Van about her challenges, she was honest, but optimistic. She recognized that different disabilities present different challenges, but overall life is hard for people with disabilities. Van has had to deal with indifference, misunderstandings and prejudices from people without empathy.Before joining DRD, Van herself felt uncomfortable…, The dream of helping people with disabilities, Van dreams of helping people with disabilities overcome challenges in daily transportation so they can integrate more seamlessly into society. Van knows that she cannot transform public infrastructure to accommodate people with disabilities in a short amount of time. Instead, she has chosen to use a more humane and practical approach: equip as…, Can UPSHIFT help realize her dream?, Van told me she felt proud and happy when UPSHIFT gave her the opportunity to pursue her dream. She highlighted that some of the skills UPSHIFT taught her, such as professionalism, communications, and project planning, have already made an impact on her project. She expressed great excitement to continue her project in the workshop and also,…