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Uso de las TIC en la Biblioteca para apoyar el Desarrollo de personas en situación de discapacidad

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Recién había renunciado al trabajo que tenía y una amiga me pidió el currículo, días después me llamaron y recuerdo que me hablaron de tecnologías para el desarrollo, yo la verdad no entendía cómo podía suceder eso, porque en la Universidad siempre me enseñaron diferentes teorías de desarrollo y en ninguna de ellas aparecías el computador o el internet, no que yo recuerde, pero era claro que necesitaba empleo, así que acepte, siempre me han gustado los retos, fue así como empecé a ser formadora y asumí el reto aun mayor de volver al Chocó (pacifico colombiano) donde trabaje en lugares muy alejados, donde utilizábamos los Telecentros Compartel para hacer estos procesos de formación y recuerdo como en mis primeras experiencias vi gente llorar de emoción por poder comunicarse con hijos que no veía hace muchos años, incluso me empezó a llamar la atención como la gente se iba transformando durante los días de la capacitación, al principio iban sin bañarse, en pijama, con poco interés y después de unas clases la gente cambiaba su postura física, llegaban mucho más organizado y el ultimo día, el de los grados del curso de 20 horas se vestían para como para una gran fiesta y los oía decir es que yo nunca había estudiado, yo pensaba que era bruta, pero si puedo manejar un computador, puedo hacer muchas más cosas. Ese día entendí lo que significaba tecnologías para el desarrollo y no es que ahora sea una experta en tecnología, pero sí sé que no son las herramientas es lo que se logre con ellos, que el aprendizaje de las TIC, debe ser un proceso igual de riguroso, pero amoroso como aprender a leer. Como no enamorarse de este trabajo, de brindar oportunidades y que las personas puedan desarrollar actividades familiares, personales, comunitarias, académicas, laborales y/o recreativas.

Era claro ya me quería quedar por convicción. Después llego otro reto llevar estos procesos de alfabetización digital a las bibliotecas, mi idea de biblioteca era el que tenia del colegio, ese lugar al cual siempre iba cuando me castigaban por hacer algo no apropiado, pero cuál fue mi sorpresa al conocer las Bibliotecas de Medellín, espacios de innovación, donde hay un gran tejido social y se abarcan muchos temas de desarrollo, los cuales se proyectan a la comunidad a través de servicios innovadores y mi papel era aportar desde las tecnologías en esos procesos. Fue así como abrimos cursos para empezar a orientar a las personas encargadas de bibliotecas en cómo se podrían realizar cursos con metodologías de acuerdo al tipo de grupo población, necesidades, edad e intereses. Además de interactuar con personas de la comunidad para posicionar el uso de computadores en biblioteca. Hoy las bibliotecas cuentan con dinamizadores de cultural digital personas encargadas de orientar, realizar cursos y acompañar a las personas que llegan a las bibliotecas en búsqueda de computadores. Actualmente mi papel esta en compartir metodologías, formar formadores y brindar herramientas pedagógicas que faciliten este proceso de aprender – haciendo.

Como líder de proyectos en la Corporación Makaia siempre trato de no quedarme encerrada en la oficina, con frecuencia asumo grupos para capacitar, el contacto con la gente es lo que le da sentido a mi trabajo, solo así poder conocer de cerca las necesidades de la comunidad, me gusta recorrer las bibliotecas y centros de acceso tecnológico donde desarrollamos los proyectos los cuales están ubicados en las zonas de Antioquia y Chocó. Fue así como asumí el reto de incorporar al equipo de trabajo dos personas con discapacidad auditiva, un reto que ha traído grandes resultados y maravillosas experiencias, gracias al equipo de trabajo de la Corporación Makaia que siempre estuvo dispuesto aprender y adaptarse a las necesidades de los nuevos compañeros, fue así como empezamos un curso de lenguaje de señas, para poder tener una mejor comunicación y hacer del espacio de trabajo, un lugar incluyente, igual tuvimos que aprender sobre discapacidad, tipos, mitos y realidades, fue así como iniciamos a construir un módulo de forma conjunta, yo sabía sobre TIC, los nuevos alfabetizadores también lo sabían porque lo habían estudiado, pero además de eso desde su experiencia personal podrían aportar mucho para que el curso respondiera a las necesidades de la comunidad sorda. En el proceso empezamos a reconocer que la experiencia de capacitación entre pares era muy exitosa, ya que se genera un ambiente de mayor confianza y de motivación para quienes reciben las capacitaciones, porque ven los alfabetizadores un proyecto de vida y un ejemplo de superación. Las capacitaciones fueron tomando fuerza y empezamos a recibir en la oficina llamadas de personas con diferentes discapacidades que buscaban capacitaciones en el uso de las TIC, fue así como iniciamos la búsqueda de personas que como Andrés y Alejandra (los alfabetizadores digitales) pudieran hacer los procesos de capacitación en bibliotecas, actualmente contamos con un equipo de 4 personas, con los cuales siempre hacemos la planeación de los cursos, brindamos herramientas y apoyamos en el proceso de formación, para genera confianza, habilidades y destrezas en los formadores y no lo hacemos porque sean personas con alguna discapacidad, lo hacemos para apoyar un proceso y garantizar la calidad en los procesos de formación

Los buenos resultados nos ha llevado a buscar donaciones para seguir brindando oportunidades de formación en bibliotecas, es importante subrayara que las bibliotecas son los súper aliados en estos procesos, por varias razones, aprovechamos la capacidad instalada, abrimos espacios de inclusión y trabajamos articuladamente para que las persona s con discapacidad se integren a las diferentes actividades que se realizan en la biblioteca o las bibliotecas que trabajan con población con discapacidad me contactan para pensar cómo fortalecer esos procesos con formación en TIC. Esto nos llevó a montar un proyecto de donación en línea, con el fin de no dejar el proceso por la demanda de las personas y de las bibliotecas para seguir ofreciendo este tipo de cursos, los cuales iniciaron con conceptos básicos y que hemos ido haciendo niveles superiores, para llegar a hablar de emprendimiento, proyecto de vida y proyectos comunitarios, todo esto lo hacemos utilizando tecnología. Por eso decidí presentarme a esta convocatoria, para contar una historia que aliente a otras personas a pensar en una fórmula que nos ha dado excelentes resultados, biblioteca + Tecnología = Desarrollo. Formula que hemos aplicado con diferentes grupos poblacionales y hoy más que orgullo tenemos que seguir asumiendo retos, porque sabemos que hay muchas más cosas que se pueden realizar, por ejemplo brindar procesos de capacitación a personas con discapacidad cognitiva, que es algo que aún no hemos realizado porque es un proceso diferente, implica más tiempo, recursos y herramientas. Actualmente brindamos capacitaciones para personas con discapacidad auditiva, física y visual, pero para conocer más de los proyectos, es mejor oírlo de quienes lo han hecho posible, de mi gran equipo de trabajo del cual me siento orgullosa, porque me han permitido aprender, porque hemos construido conjuntamente, pero sobretodo porque estamos brindando oportunidades.

Desde el año 2011 a la fecha hemos logrado capacitar 770 personas en situación de discapacidad. Hablar del trabajo que uno hace es fácil y a veces puede ser pretensioso, por eso dejo estos enlaces que sirven para conocer de cerca las formas como hemos venido trabajando, buscando recursos y algunos testimonios que dan cuenta de todo lo escrito anteriormente.

• Como apoyo al proceso de alfabetización digital se realizó una multimedia para personas con discapacidad auditiva a través de la cual se les enseña las partes del computador, el uso del ratón y del teclado http://www.telecentros.org.co/recursos_materiales.shtml?apc=qcxx-1-&x=35638

• También se desarrollaron contenidos prácticos para el trabajo con personas con discapacidad auditiva http://www.makaia.org/recursos.shtml?apc=h1d1---&x=1682

• Información iniciativa de búsqueda de donaciones a través de la plataforma virtual Global Giving http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/inclusion-for-people-with-disabilit...

• Video testimonio Sofía personas con discapacidad física http://goo.gl/0zvWnQ

• Video testimonio Andrés y Alejandra, alfabetizadores digitales con discapacidad auditiva https://vimeo.com/41114561.

• Video testimonio Eduardo Palacio, persona con discapacidad visual https://vimeo.com/57747805

To explain how it all started, here’s my story: having recently given up the job I had, a friend asked for my CV and a few days later I got a phone call; I remember them talking to me about technology for development but in truth, I didn’t understand how it could possibly be feasible. At University, I had been taught many different theories about development and none of them included a computer or the Internet (as far as I can remember!) but I needed a job and therefore I said yes. I’ve always enjoyed challenges and that is how I started out as a trainer.

I then took on the even greater challenge of returning to Chocó (on Colombia’s Pacific Coast) where I worked in very remote communities, using Compartel’s telecentres to give these training sessions. I will always remember the first few sessions in which I saw people crying with joy as they could finally communicate with children whom they had not seen for many years. I also noticed how people changed their attitude in the short time that we ran the training sessions. At the start, they would turn up unwashed, in pajamas and with their mind elsewhere. Within a few classes however, their posture had changed, they started to arrive on time and organized and, on the last day when they ‘graduated’ from the 20 hour course, they were dressed as if they were going to a ball. I overheard them saying that they had never studied as they thought they were dumb but now, because they could use a computer, a world of opportunities had opened up.
It was that day that I understood what technology for development meant and, although I am still far from being a technology expert, I now know that it is not the tools but what one achieves with them that matters. The process of learning about ICT ought to be as enjoyable as it is rigorous, much like learning how to read.

How can I not love this job? It brings opportunities to so many with positive knock-on effects in terms of family, personal, community, academic, professional and recreational development.It was clear that I wanted to stay in this line of work and, sure enough, another challenge arrived which involved transferring these IT literacy courses to libraries. At the time, my idea of a library was the same as the one I had when I was in high school, this place I was sent to as a punishment every time I did something wrong. Imagine my surprise when I got to know Medellín’s public libraries, these forward thinking and innovative spaces with incredibly positive environments where the topic of development is comprehensively covered. My role was to incorporate technology into the innovative development projects aimed at the community.
This was how we came to opening courses to teach senior library workers how they could adapt course methods depending on the audience (whether it be different ages, interests, needs,…). We also introduced the idea of incorporating computers in libraries.

Today, the libraries have dynamic, IT literate staff specifically to teach courses and help people who come to libraries looking to use a computer. My current role is to share and develop teaching methods, train the trainers and to bring educational tools which help the learning process by doing and taking part.As project leader at Corporación Makaia, I always make a point of not staying cooped up in the office and I am often out teaching. It’s people contact that makes this job worthwhile and it is only through this contact that I can get to know and understand the needs of the community. I love going round the various libraries and technology access centres in Antioquia and Chocó where we run our projects.

It was as a result of this that I took on the challenge of incorporating 2 people with hearing impairments into the team, a challenge that gave us with the most fantastic results and experiences. This was largely thanks to the team at Makaia which was always on hand to learn and adapt to the needs of their new colleagues. This experience led us to start a sign language course in order to better understand each other and to make the work space inclusive. Furthermore, we wanted to learn about disabilities and the myths and realities of living with a disability.

Our next step was to develop a new model together; I already knew about IT, as did the recently trained students having recently taken the courses. But they brought so much more to the deaf community: personal experience.During the process, we started to realize that the learning experience in pairs was very successful as it creates an atmosphere of trust and motivation for the students because they see those who have already been through the process as an inspiration.

The courses were growing and developing rapidly and we started to get phone calls from people with a whole range of disabilities who wanted to be trained in ICT. This meant we had to find more people like Andrés and Alejandra (the trainers) who could give these courses in libraries. We now have a team of 4 trainers with whom we plan the courses, deliver the tools and support them in the training process. We do all this vigorously in order to guarantee the success and quality of the courses, not because of their disabilities. This generates confidence and develops their skills, benefitting all involved.

The excellent results achieved have led us to seek donations to continue providing ICT training opportunities in libraries to those who want and need it. It’s worth adding that the libraries are our key allies in all this; we take advantage of the facilities they offer, open up spaces for inclusion and strive to ensure that those with disabilities are included in the different activities offered by the libraries. In return, libraries who work with disabled people often contact me for ideas for how to better their ICT courses.

As a result, we have set up an online donation platform with the aim of helping us match the demand from people and libraries to continue offering these training opportunities. It’s worth remembering that these opportunities started with fairly basic concepts and have evolved considerably: community projects, life projects and even entrepreneurship. We have achieved all this through the use of technology. And all this is why I decided to apply to this offer, to tell a story which will hopefully encourage others to think about a formula which has been so successful for us: Libraries + Technology = Development. It’s a formula which we have applied effectively to a variety of different groups.

But we musn’t stop there. We must continue working and not rest on our laurels because, as proud as we are of our achievements, we know that there are so many more challenges to take on, such as delivering training sessions to people with cognitive disabilities. This is something which we haven’t yet been able to do because the training process is very different and involves a lot more time, resources and tools. Currently we offer training for people with hearing, physical and visual impairments but the best way to get to know our projects more closely is to hear about them directly from those who have made it possible: my team. They make me so proud because of what we have built together but above all because of the opportunities we are providing. I am always learning from them and I am incredibly grateful for that.

By 2011, we had trained 770 people with disabilities.
Speaking about what one does is easy and can, at times, be pretentious and for that reason, I have attached these links which show how we go about our work, how we find resources and a few testimonies which, I hope, back up what I have written.

• How the process of ICT training happens for the hearing impaired, such as learning about various computer parts and the use of the mouse and keyboard: http://www.telecentros.org.co/recursos_materiales.shtml?apc=qcxx-1-&x=35638

• Our website also has practical content for working with people with hearing impairments: http://www.makaia.org/recursos.shtml?apc=h1d1---&x=1682

• Information about our raising of funds through the Global Giving online platform: http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/inclusion-for-people-with-disabilit...

• Video testimony from Sofía who is physically impaired: http://goo.gl/0zvWnQ

• Video testimony from Andrés and Alejandra, our ICT trainers with hearing impairments: https://vimeo.com/41114561.

• Video testimony from Eduardo Palacio who has a visual impairment: https://vimeo.com/57747805

This story was written for World Pulse’s Women Weave the Web Digital Action Campaign. Learn more »

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Comments

Tam's picture

Tremendous

Dear Andrea,

Reading about the work that is being done in the Corporation Makaia is extremely inspiring. It is clear that you have been an important part of creating an amazing public resource, and that you and your team mates bring much love and optimism into what you do.
As I read, I first got a strong sense of your own beauty and caring nature, wanting to do much for others and caring about what is available as resources to remote communities. I loved that you learned the next step by watching how what was offered, was transforming the people who were taking part in the programme. How wonderful that a school that was punishing to you had transformed into a community library!
You give such a clear picture of what can be accomplished through community libraries, with a personal suggestion of how important it is to get out of the office and learn from people participating. It is also heart warming to learn of how your team is always willing to learn and expand services.
It is especially inspiring to read of the first services that you developed for people with hearing disabilities, adding soon services for people with visual and physical disabilities, and now working on what can be done to serve people with cognitive disabilities. All of this is so important, and you are providing such leadership, not only to your community and country, but to all of us. Giving us the actual number of people served, and also giving us the links, makes your message all the stronger. The photo attached is beautiful.
What also touched my heart deeply are your words that the people coming to your centre have allowed you to learn, that you all have built it together, and that you all continue to find more opportunities. How beautiful.

Best wishes for ever more successes,

Tam

andrea.rojas's picture

Dear Tam, Thank you for your

Dear Tam,

Thank you for your beautiful words. You're absolutely right when you say that this website brings women thogether, but more than that, it allows us getting to know dreams ,projects, and successful experiences.

Your work in promoting women's rights is vital also because we've seen that it is fundamental in women with disabilities who are unfortunately more prone to gender-based violence, physical, sexual, and emotional abuse. I sincerely hope to keep in touch, and since i read in your profile that you like to travel, i invite you to visit Medellin, a lovely place with wonderful libraries.

Best,

Andrea.

Twitter @Cartagenaandrea
Instragram @rojascartagena

Tam's picture

Thank You

Dear Andrea,

Thank you for the kind invitation! I do hope that we meet in person some day. In the meantime I am looking forward to staying in touch through World Pulse.

With Love in Sisterhood,

Tam

Sarah Whitten-Grigsby's picture

Wow, Andrea!

Dear Andrea,

What excellent and vital work you and your team are doing! Your story, from the start, is impressive in it's detail and description of overcoming obstacles to broaden the reach of so many people with disabilities.

Your determination and extremely dedicated work come through clearly. You have done and are doing a great deal, through the valuable library system, to improve life greatly for others.

I have great admiration for your strength and tenacity, and I am grateful that you've written this terrific piece to share with us all that is unfolding in your community and beyond.

I applaud you!

With Admiration,

Sarah

inetmom's picture

A Vision for Libraries

Dear Andrea -

I am a great admirer of your work and I am sharing your link with as many people as I can. So often people with disabilities miss the opportunity to use technology when it is the very thing that may motivate them to learn and grow beyond their barriers. Women Weave the Web is about barriers to digital access and the people you have empowered take their barriers with them. You have helped them overcome these barriers and have and will inspire many more people.

With warm regards.

Tiffany

SanPatagonia's picture

Maravilloso testimonio!

Andrea: gracias por compartir con tanta claridad y tanto sentimiento este camino que han realizado. Realmente es una seguidilla de pequeños pasos firmes que construyen un gran camino... así lo he vivido mientras me atrapaba tu post. La alfabetización digital es uno de los grandes desafíos que abordamos y las personas en situación de discapacidad muchas veces quedan en los márgenes de las iniciativas. Es muy inspirador y, en lo personal como señante LSA, me ha emocionado mucho ver el video testimonial sobre alfabetización de personas sordas.
Espero leer más sobre sus iniciativas y logros! Toda la fuerza para ir por mucho más progreso e inclusión plena!

@SanPatagonia
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