According to UNICEF, almost 4 million children are living with disabilities in Eastern and Central Europe and Central Asia and do not have access to qualified and inclusive education. Ms. Afshan Khan, UNICEF’s Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia, called this ‘a tragic waste of potential - for these children, their families, national economies and society’.
In order to address this situation and provide alternatives to achieve complete inclusion in the educational system, assistive technologies can be used as tools to allow children with disabilities to gain more independence, attend school, and engage actively in their communities.
To bring attention to the subject, a two-day exhibit was opened on 7 March 2019, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva. The exhibit showcases innovative, assistive technologies that help children with disabilities access school – including special readers and tablets, lightweight and inexpensive wheelchairs, and even brain-computer interface technology.
‘For a child living with a disability, access to assistive technology can mean the difference between a life of exclusion and isolation, to getting an education and reaching their full potential’, affirmed Ms. Afshan Khan when opening the exhibition.