On 20th of October 2016 Malteser International and the Lift You Up group officially launched the digitally accessible format of Malteser International’s Disability Inclusive Community-based Disaster Risk Management Manual using DAISY (Digital Accessible Information System). The launch took place during a conference held in Ha Noi, which attracted delegates from various governmental departments, associations and organisations in the field of disaster risk management and disability inclusion across Vietnam.
Ms Dao Thu Huong, a representative of Lift You Up group, demonstrated to delegates how to “read” the material on a computer and Android devices. Available custom features such as changing font size, audio speed and colour contrast were also introduced to the audience to highlight the accessibility of the DAISY format. Delegates showed great interest not only in the DAISY version of the Disability Inclusive Community-based Disaster Risk Management (DICBDRM) Manual but also in the DAISY format itself.
Delegates from both, the Deaf Association and the Blind Association, who already piloted the digital DICBDRM manual, stated that they will include in the upcoming action plans of their organisations the dissemination of these tools and materials to their members. The national Disaster Management Centre also announced that currently plans are developed to upgrade its website thereby permitting people with disabilities, especially blind people, to access information more easily. This includes the building up of an online library with materials in DAISY format on natural disaster prevention and protection. Moreover, the Director of the Vocational Training Centre of Ha Noi Blind Association already contracted the Lift You Up group to convert 1,000 pages of their vocational training materials into DAISY format.
The DICBDRM manual in the DAISY format has been developed during the project “Building Capacity and Removing Barriers for People with Disabilities in Disaster Risk Management through Accessible Digital Information System in Vietnam", funded by UPS and implemented by Malteser International and Lift You Up group since January 2016. With the launch the project has come to an end, however, it has opened new opportunities for the application of DAISY format to increase disability inclusion in disaster risk management, as well as in other social activities. Lift You Up group, a key beneficiary of the project, have revealed their strategies for the next years. Alongside with improving their human resources and taking on deaf people to work in their DAISY production team, the group will provide training on DAISY and textbook conversion services. Moreover, the group is planning to convert some of the world’s most famous books to DAISY format and offered them for free to readers.
“I hope that the various related authorities will facilitate the launch of a DAISY library”, Mr Nguyen Trung Thai from the Vietnam Blind Association urged. “This will significantly improve blind people’s access to textbooks, as well as other materials that support their studies, work and research,” he added. Malteser International hopes that Mr Nguyen’s wish will soon come true.