Winner: Siemon Dekelver, WAI-NOT
Category: ‘I am part of IT’ – big organisations
Although Siemon cannot read or write he can now go online thanks to the WAI-NOT project. WAI-NOT has built an accessible website with content that can be used in special education schools and help mentally challenged young people to improve their quality of life through ICT.
Siemon has learned to write emails, using pictograms. He can now read the newspaper because it is audio supported and translated into pictograms. He learns about educational topics, which are available through an accessible website.
All of this gave him the title of WAI-NOT ambassador and he has promoted the use of WAI-NOT on many occasions: in schools for special education, at educational fairs, at conferences in Belgium, Turkey, Hungary, Poland, The Netherlands and Morocco. He met with two ministers of education in Flanders and demonstrated WAI-NOT for Princess Mathilde of Belgium. When meeting with one of the ministers, he introduced himself: “Hello, I heard that you are a minister. Well, I’m the ambassador of WAI-NOT. Pleased to meet you.”
Lately, Siemon has learned to travel more independently thanks to an ICT tool developed by K-point (the ICT and inclusion research centre at KH Kempen University College). Siemon was, until recently, completely dependent on others to travel. After a training period with the mobile technology app, Siemon can now take public transport to travel home, and he cycles independently to visit friends living in his village. He is fully aware that he is monitored by the system and he enjoys the fact that he can now travel on his own. Siemon got to know all the bus drivers on his route. They became part of his social network. And the bus drivers learned that Siemon, having Down’s syndrome, can take a bus. He just needs some support to indicate when he arrives at his stop.
This project not only promotes digital inclusion – at the same time it invites society to be more inclusive.