Celebrating Global Accessibility Awareness Day in Asia

Finally, a day dedicated to accessibility!

On May 9, we are going to celebrate the very first Global Accessibility Awareness Day. This awesome idea started from a blog post by Joe Devon, a developer based in Los Angeles, California.

The following information is taken from the website of the Global Accessibility Awareness Day:

Global Accessibility Awareness Day is a community-driven effort whose goal is to dedicate one day to raising the profile of and introducing the topic of digital (web, software, mobile app/device etc.) accessibility and people with different disabilities to the broadest audience possible.

Everyone who supports accessibility is encouraged to provide a talk, conduct a hands-on demo, or do any activity that would make other people realize the importance of digital accessibility.

The website contains information about the events which organizations and companies will hold on May 9 in celebration of Global Accessibility Awareness Day. There I’ve read about upcoming sessions, meetups, and other similar events in America and Canada.

Seeing all these great events, I quickly thought about Asia, our own little corner of the world. Opportunely, there is a particular group in Asia which I’m happy to be part of. This dynamic group consists of former and present trainees of the Teruko Ikeda ICT Training Program conducted annually by the Japan Braille Library at St. Nicholas Home in Penang, Malaysia. Participants come from countries such as Bhutan, China, Fiji, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, The Philippines, and Vietnam. To keep in touch with each other, we have the Teruko Ikeda ICT blog and a very active Google group where we exchange information and help each other with regard to ICT-related concerns.

I believe that each member of our group can help a lot in spreading the word about accessibility during the upcoming May 9 celebration. So I decided to encourage all members to engage in an accessibility talk, be it big or small, in their respective countries. I think that the true meaning behind Global Accessibility Awareness Day should be recognized especially in Asian countries where there is a serious need for accessible information and facilities.

I’m very thankful that several members responded with very brilliant ideas!

Here are a few ideas from Rhea Althea Guntalilib. Rhea is a software development analyst at Smart Communications, and she was in the 2011 training.

I am enrolled in a program focused on online ventures. Our mentor owns and maintains several commercial websites. He is planning to organize a meetup sometime during the second week of May in Makati City, Philippines. It will be an informal gathering of the members of the webinar. All of the prospective attendees are web developers and designers. I’ll definitely take that opportunity to talk to them about web accessibility.

Also, I’m part of the platform services group of Smart Communications. Basically, we’re in-charge of planning and building programs, apps, and machines that are being released in the market and used by our company for its internal operations. I’ve started to talk to my superiors about accessibility – particularly the accessibility of the portals we’re using in our work – and they’re very receptive to the idea.

Here is another set of ideas from Minnie Aveline Juan. Minnie was part of the 2010 Teruko Ikeda training.

I am currently employed in a private educational institution as a Special Education teacher and a member of the Board of Trustees. Since I came to know about the value of web accessibility, I’ve had a burning desire to impart all the learning I have gained and am still gaining. As the school’s website is in the process of reconstruction, I intend to have an informal discussion with the school Board, the webmaster, and others involved in working on the site regarding the need for and benefits of web accessibility. I may not participate in the actual reconstruction, but I believe that sharing such novel and worthwhile ideas with them would be advantageous not only in helping them grow in knowledge but also in making the school’s site highly accessible to all.

In addition, I plan to deliver a mini accessibility talk for college students pursuing computer-related courses in the same school, which will coincide with their Computer Week celebration. In this endeavor, I will introduce web accessibility, discuss its principles, and do a little demonstration of website evaluation. Furthermore, I will start talking to my fellow “differently-abled” friends about accessibility, be it via telephone, internet, or face-to-face communication, in high hopes that their awareness will motivate and inspire them to participate actively in the advocacy. Of course, I will never pass up the opportunity of letting my own learners know everything that must be known about digital accessibility.

My field of specialization may have little to do with the matter, but in my own simple way, I wish to share everything I know to the best of my ability, especially with the non-disabled community. In doing so, I hope to awaken these people’s consciousness of our needs, and to make them aware that we, being a part of society, are just as entitled to enjoy the privilege of a delightful, convenient, and productive internet experience as they are. This may not be much, but I affirm that even a little change can make a big difference.

Many thanks and cheers to our good friends who shared their excellent ideas on how we, the accessibility advocates in Asia, can celebrate Global Accessibility Awareness Day! Although we will celebrate this important event particularly on May 9, I believe that every single day is a chance to promote and support accessibility in our respective countries.

To learn more about this event, you can visit and like the Facebook page of the Global Accessibility Awareness Day and Follow gbla11yday on Twitter.

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