WITH its continuing commitment to enable visually-challenged public school students in computer skills, IBM, a multinational company on technology and consulting corporation, launched its National Computer Camp for Blind Students or “Computer Eyes”.

The program is in partnership with Resource for the Blind, Inc. For its 13th year, IBM Philippines trained a total of 27 visually-challenged students from Mindanao and Visayas here in Davao.

There were 22 trained in Luzon, for a total of 49 students trained nationwide.

“This year, the event was held in Davao City as majority of the students come from southern Philippines provinces,” said Luis Pineda, IBM Philippines president and general country manager Thursday at the Sumo Asia Hotel in Mamay Road, Davao City.

The student underwent one-week training in basic and advance computer education and literacy.

“I am grateful and blessed as one of the recipient of this program, this enables us to cope with the digital era, and through this we can prove that our disability cannot be a hindrance to be computer literate. This is very important because in today’s time we are already in a digital era,” said Joji Brix Relatado, grade 10 student of Daniel R. Aguinaldo National High School (DRANHS).

He added that with the training, he has improved his knowledge on how to manipulate and navigate the computer especially in basic computer applications like document processing, spreadsheet calculations, power point, webpage creation thru HyperText Markup Language (HTML), including use of social media networks.

The program, which started in 2001 had enabled 124 alumni to go on and find work in various industries with 94 completing a college degree.

Since it was launched, the program has produced over 340 graduates nationwide. The program leverages on a software called Jobs Access With Speech (JAWS).

“The application converts text display into speech and allows users to navigate through the computer through audio prompts,” Ebenchito M. Pabia, Computer Eyes instructor, said.

“In our aim to create an inclusive youth enablement program, IBM continues to support RBI on this endeavor,” Pineda said adding that the program allows them to reach out to members of the uniquely-abled community and provide them useful skills for a better future.