Disabled children cross right into borderless world

Anton Muhajir,  Contributor,  Badung  | Thu, 11/26/2009 1:29 PM  |  Surfing Bali

Twenty-three-year-old Luh Putu Eka Swandewi was excited as she read a message in her laptop screen. Staring at her laptop screen, she read the message from Yahoo!: “Congratulations, Eka.”

“Hooray.I made it!” she said while raising her hands. Some of her friends in the room gave her applause.

After learning how to use office programs such as Microsoft Word and Excel in the previous training sessions, she was taught about the Internet.

“I want to get connected with broader parts of the world to find more friends,” she said.

Eka and 11 other participants received congratulatory messages from Yahoo! They all successfully created their own email accounts.

Along with other disabled people in the training, Eka listened attentively to Agus Sumberdana, a member of the Bali Blogger Community (BBC), while practicing her newly acquired skills on her laptop.

The participants rejoiced when Agus asked them to type “Google” in the side bar.

In the Google’s search box, they entered the keywords: cara membuat email (how to create an email account).

Five members of BBC assisted the disabled to learn about the Internet, including creating email accounts.

After several trials and errors, each of the participants was asked to write an email message to their friends.

Eka wrote hers in English to her two foreign friends.

“Hi, this is my new email. Today, I learned how to open a new email account to find new friends. I am sending you my email, so we can stay in touch.”

Eka said she was very happy to learn about the Internet as it allowed her to connect with people around the world.

“Now I can surf everywhere since I have learned how to use the Internet.”

Three Bali-based foundations for the disabled: the Christian Foundation for Public Welfare (Yakkum), Senang Hati Foundation and Bunga Bali Foundation, held a half-day Internet training program with presentations from BBC members, who regularly train members of the public on how to use the Internet and related applications.

“We want to prepare them to get a job,” said Dayu Windiyani of the organizing committee from Senang Hati Foundation.

But for Eka, finding a job is not a priority.

The girl who uses wheelchair said the most important thing about her learning how to use the Internet was to improve her IT literacy skills and make up for lost time when she couldn’t use a computer.

As she started to become familiar with the Internet, she stepped into the borderless world.

From the training room at the Social Service Agency in Abiansemal, Badung regency, Eka sent an email to her friend in Italy.

Eka has not only conquered her physical disability, but also broken into the world thanks to the Internet.


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