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TATT encourages disabled young women to pursue tech careers

Published: 
Tuesday, May 5, 2015
Veera Bhajan, right, encourages young women to focus on ability not disability, as Cheryl De Coteau provides sign language interpretation. Photo courtesy: Telecommunications Authority of T&T

A local telecommunications industry official is encouraging disabled young women to pursue careers in technology sector.

Speaking at a recent event for young women with disabilities, Sherry McMillan, an executive officer with the Telecommunications Authority (TATT), encouraged the audience of about 100 disabled young women, aged 16 to 25, to go after their ambitions of a career in tech. The young women, representing various schools and organisations, got some information about career choices in the industry.

Hosted by TATT, the event marked Girls in ICT Day 2015, and set out to encourage the young women to maximise the use of technology to achieve their academic goals and encourage them to pursue careers in this area.

Feature speaker Veera Bhajan, founder of Footprints Foundation, shared her personal story of success, giving insights into how she achieved her dream of becoming an attorney, although she was born without arms. Bhajan challenged the young women to focus on their ability rather than disability, in spite of the challenges they face.

Young women take part in TATT's workshop for young women with disabilities. Photo courtesy: TATT
  
TATT Pricing and Market Research executive Officer Annie Baldeo said the organisation planned to provide assistive technologies and equipment to persons with disabilities. The event also featured an exhibition showcasing various academic and vocational programmes accessible by persons with disabilities, through the latest assistive technologies. The exhibitors were the University of Trinidad and Tobago, the National Institute of Higher Education Research, Science and Technology, iGovTT, the College of Science, Technology and Applied Arts of Trinidad and Tobago and the Youth Training and Employment Partnership Programme (YTEPP).
 
One highlight of the event was YTEPP’s Mobile Bus, which is outfitted with assistive technologies. Students visiting the bus at the end of the event were thrilled to have the opportunity to use those devices.

The local event was part of an International Telecommunications Union-backed initiative that aims to empower and encourage girls and young women to consider careers in technology-related fields. The ITU is the United Nations’ specialised agency for ICTs. 

During the workshop the young women were given the opportunity to provide practical information to assist TATT in the roll out of one of its Universal Service Programme, which is aimed at giving disabled people access to basic telecommunications services. Workshop participants offered feedback on which technologies they found most suitable to access mobile telecommunications services to meet their daily needs.