The story of Fatima Maghzaz, teacher

“I created a little Arabic reading book in sign language.”

My name is Fatima Maghzaz, and I am a teacher at the Fatima Timouria School in the city of Berrchid, Morocco. I currently have ten deaf students in my class of various ages.
Working with deaf students is difficult but fascinating at the same time. Recently, I attended a teacher-training workshop in Rabat, Morocco, conducted by the Institute for Disabilities Research and Training, during which I learned a great deal and received a lot of information that will facilitate my work as a teacher.

I put in a lot of effort and time developing teaching materials for my students. For example, I recently spent almost six months to create a little Arabic reading book, but when I saw the Dictionary and the Publisher in “Moroccan Sign Language Clip and Create” – the software developed by IDRT – I was astounded! If I had that software before, the work I did in six months could have been done in two or three weeks. But, as they say, “It is better late than never.” I can’t wait to get my copy of the next software version release and begin developing other books for my students.

I want to thank Dr. Corinne Vinopol, the Project Director, for her professionalism and kindness and all workshop presenters. You have made my task much easier!


Read more about how IDRT is improving access to education for deaf children in Morocco by reading the factsheet. Corinne Vinopol of IDRT will be presenting at day 2 of the Zero Project Conference 2018 in the session “Sign Language Solutions”.


The story of Gail Campbell, Chair of “Access Orangeville”

“We now have ramps in both our town pools – and a chairlift.”

As a member of the Orangeville Town Council and Chair of “Access Orangeville,” I am proud to say that the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act is being implemented very methodically, such that everyone knows that in the year 2025 our province is going to be totally accessible. It is also being done in a progressive, orderly way so that people are able to accommodate the transition.

I believe the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act is making all Ontarians aware that everyone has the right to enjoy all the services that our province offers. To cite just one example, in our town of Orangeville we now have ramps into both of our pools. We also have a chair lift that can help people with disabilities get into either pool as well as personal flotation devices for every size individual.


Read more about how Ontario is being made accessible by reading the factsheet. The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act will be presented on day 3 of the Zero Project Conference at the WHO GATE forum on assistive technology.


The story of Zoe Hartman, user of OrCam MyEye

“I can purchase and pay again, read my mail, and use the subway by myself.”

My name is Zoe Hartman, age 25, and I live in Brooklyn. Previously, I was a production assistant in the film industry and hoped to become an assistant director. When I was 22, however, I suddenly lost much of my vision, and it decreased further over the following few months. After a year of tests and misdiagnoses, a biopsy revealed that brain inflammation, from an unknown cause, had damaged my optic nerves.

I learned to use a cane to get around and magnifiers to help me read, but I frequently had to rely on others for assistance – someone who could read small print, for example. Thanks to OrCam MyEye, however, I’ve gone from relying on others to doing things for myself. The OrCam MyEye helps me pay for purchases without relying on someone else to count my money. It also helps me read signs so I can travel on my own. Since having OrCam, I have shopped for groceries, read my mail, and used the subway by myself. I have even gone back to work. I worked on a couple of television shows and have used my OrCam MyEye to read documents and fill out paperwork more quickly – an asset in the fast-paced film industry. I also recently became a reservationist at a restaurant, which I could not have done without OrCam MyEye.

OrCam also helped me return to activities I love. It helps me read menus when out with friends or family and small print on food labels or museum signs. Now that I can read a script, I’m even considering returning to theatre work, a favourite hobby.


Read more about OrCam MyEye by reading the factsheet. OrCam MyEye will be presenting at day 1 of the Zero Project Conference 2018 in the session “Orientation systems for the blind”.


The Story of Hanufa, Mother of Mim (3) and user of CSF

“Mim can now walk and is trying to speak”

My name is Hanufa, mother of three-year-old Mim. I once had a piece of land with a beautiful house, but everything was swept away by the flooding river. Now I live in a tiny rented house with three children, which is a miserable life.

My daughter Mim has been affected by cerebral palsy since birth. I could not take her to hospital or to a physician for treatment due to lack of money. Before the intervention of the CSF, Mim could not walk, could not speak, and had no hope. But after three months of intervention, she can now walk and is already trying to speak! I believe she will walk normally, speak properly, and will go to school after a couple of more months.

I am very happy to see my child’s development. I am going to Shishu Shorgo (“Children Heaven”) five days a week and they are providing therapeutic services, training for parents on how to manage children with disabilities at home, cleaning and hygiene practices, and orientation on social communication. CSF is the only organization providing services in this rural area. We are blessed that my child is getting these services, but there are lot of children who are not getting any kind of service in other areas.


Find out more about the support CSF are giving for children with disabilities in rural Bangladesh by reading the factsheet.  CSF will be presenting at day 2 of the Zero Project Conference 2018 in the session “Access to Health”.

The story of Mirsad Đulbić, from Zenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina

“The museum has removed all barriers for us, and has let us enjoy culture in our everyday lives.”

My name is Mirsad Đulbić, and I am retiree, local historian, and culture lover from Zenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Average in everything, not special in anything. I do not think I know anything special about Zenica – there are a hundred people who know more than I do – but I like to share my knowledge with others. I used to do it through daily and weekly newspapers.
Not so long ago, I wasn’t able to get into many institutions and move within the city without difficulty. And I and my friends love socializing, sports, and cultural programmes. Thankfully, however, there is the Zenica City Museum. The building of this museum is fully accessible and provides all the necessary amenities. Accessibility is such that no companion assistance is required. I often go there with my friends and our spouses. The museum has removed all barriers for us, and has let us enjoy culture in our everyday lives.
The photograph shows me with the former Mayor of Zenica, who is presenting me with a thank-you card for my assistance in the preparation of a museum exhibition during the opening ceremony.

Read more about how the Balkan Museum Access Group is improving accessibility across museums in the region by reading the factsheet.

The Story of Atugonza: Empowering youth with disabilities to acquire a sense of self-worth

“Now we are hosting career fairs, putting our work on display”

I am Atugonza Milton Isaac. When I started school I was the only one with a disability. All the other boys called me by hurtful nicknames, but in my heart I felt, “If others can do it, why not me? Why not a person with a disability?” When the Connecting the Dots project of Sightsavers came to my village I was doing some agricultural work. I heard the news on the radio announcing that the programme was looking for young people with disabilities to take them
for training. I had previously had an introduction on how to use a computer, so I said to myself, “Let me study computers, because in the next generation everything will be computerised.”
Now my job is to go into the field and monitor the young students in the Sightsavers programme: “How’s the work environment? How are you getting along?” I even go to visit students in their homes to see whether their parents are supporting them or not. I then report back to the office – this one is doing well, this one has a challenge. My mission is to empower youth with disabilities to acquire a sense of self-worth, to see that they too can earn a living, and to lobby for them to know their rights and benefits. I also help them benefit from government programmes, like special grants.

I have seen youth with disabilities doing great, great things. Now we are hosting career fairs, putting our work on display. Now everyone knows that disability is not inability!

Read more about Sightsavers ‘Connect the Dots’ project.

The Story of Nabila Yahia: Changing fellow employees’ views towards visual disability

Trusted employee, but also dedicated volunteer

Nabila is a 27-year-old woman who was born blind. Despite her disability, however, she used to work as a telesales executive at a non-profit foundation in Egypt from May 2011 till November 2015. Her dream was to become a trainer, but her goal was obstructed by her employer’s misperceptions regarding persons with visual impairments. As a result, none of the vacancies she applied for gave her a chance to prove herself.

Through the recruitment efforts of the Helm Foundation, Nabila now works as a coordinator in the Human Resources Department of Vodafone Egypt, a position she has held since November 2015 – and making her the first blind candidate to hold a position in the history of the company. According to Nabila, the Helm Foundation not only supported her profession- ally but morally as well. Nabila is now a Helm “ambassador” and one of the foundation’s most dedicated volunteers.

Nabila was first introduced to Helm through joining one of its scholarship programmes, which included soft skills and English language, and after that she received technical courses in the field of human resources. At the end of her programme, the foundation helped Nabila get interviewing opportunities with multiple organizations, ultimately landing her current job with Vodafone. Over the past year she has shown her direct manager and colleagues that she can perform all the required tasks of her position just like everyone else despite her disability. Over time, and through her hard work, determination, and dedication, not only was Nabila able to gain her manager’s trust but she was able to change her fellow employees’ views towards disability as well.

Find out more about the Helm Foundation’s work with Egyptian companies.

The Story of Nguyen Van Giap: Gaining independence through training and employment

Being treated as a talented staff member in designing, analysing, and coding IT systems

Nguyen Van Giap owns the OneDay company, providing IT solutions through website development, software engineering, and other IT services to support persons with disabilities and other disadvantaged people. A 2010 graduate of the USAID-funded Information Technology Training Programme (ITTP) specializing in software engineering, was working as a key programmer at Viettotal, Ltd., an IT company, until early 2016. There he demonstrated his great passion for IT and his ability to collaborate well with his non-disabled colleagues. At Viettotal he was treated as a talented staff member regardless of his being confined to a wheelchair. His daily job involved designing, analysing, and coding IT systems, as well as training clients in the use and maintenance of such systems. Each year he would run four to five major projects on the management of software, which required advance IT techniques and team-work, and which were aimed at a large number of users.

Giap’s life has changed since he joined ITTP. He is no longer dependent on his family for support, and he has more friends with and without disabilities. He has been recognized by employers and colleagues as a committed, competent, and loyal staffer. More recently, and with great support and encouragement from his employer, Giap set up OneDay – realizing his vision to expand the abilities of persons with disabilities.

Find out more about the IT training programmes in Vietnam, for persons with disabilities.

Die Geschichte von Manuel Stromberger: Stolz auf das Vertrauen seiner Arbeitskolleginnen

„Ich bin stolz, welches Vertrau- en meine Arbeitskolleginnen in mich haben.“

Mir geht es bei der Arbeit um einiges besser als die Jahre davor. Ich berichte euch von meinen Tätigkeiten: Meine erste Tätigkeit besteht darin, die Bankauszüge und eventuelle Einzahlungen bei der Bank abzuholen, die Rechnungen in die richtigen Ordner beziehungsweise in die richtigen Betriebe abzulegen.

Bei insgesamt 14 Betrieben gar nicht so einfach, würde ein anderer sagen, aber ich habe auch super Arbeitskolleginnen, die mich bei der Arbeit unter- stützen. Es geht bei solchen Rechnungen auch teilweise um sehr hohe Geldbeträge, und wenn der Wirtschaftsprüfer kommt und solche Rechnungen nicht ndet, die er braucht, bekommt die Firma was zu hören. Das ist nie gut für das Geschäft und deshalb bin ich auch so stolz, dass mir meine Arbeitskolleginnen solches Vertrauen schenken, auch wenn ich Schlampigkeitsfehler mache. Ich helfe auch sehr gerne meinen Arbeitskolleginnen bei ihren teils sehr schweren Arbeiten. Dann gehe ich aber auch Kaffee für meine Ladies holen, wenn sie wollen.

Ich zerkleinere auch entweder jeden Freitag oder jeden Montag die Papierkisten, leere die Mistkübel aus und stecke neue Abfallbeutel in die Mistkübel, oder ich mache anderweitige Arbeiten die gerade anfallen.

Ich bin einfach stolz und glücklich zugleich eine Arbeit zu haben und freue mich schon total auf das neue Ar- beitsjahr. Auf neue Herausforderungen, alte Gesichter, neue Gesichter und vielleicht sogar etwas mehr?

Lesen Sie mehr über das Chancenforum Programm.

The Story of Ibrahim and Abdul Rahman: Support in finding and training for sustainable jobs

“Happy that our skills and abilities are valued in our new roles.”

Leaving home and relocating to a new region in the Kingdom to find a job is not an easy decision for any person. We lived in Jazan where we looked for employment, but we could find no suitable job vacancies. So we were faced with a tough decision: We could stay in Jazan and continue our unsuccessful job search, or we could relocate somewhere with better job prospects. Motivated to find work and focused on our career goals, we decided to expand our horizons and move to another region.

We considered that a move to the eastern province might give us greater opportunities. To this end, the Human Resources Development Fund worked with and supported us to find suitable and sustainable positions. After our initial training, we quickly settled into our new jobs as a receptionist and an accounting assistant. Today, we are happy that our skills and abilities are valued in our new roles, and that our five-day work week allows us to visit our family in Jazan at the weekend.

Learn more about Saudi Arabia’s Tawafuq Empowerment for Employment for Persons with Disabilities Programme that improved access to work for persons with disabilities.