MediaLT is working on a development project in Bhutan to improve computer competence among visually impaired students and adults; the project is in collaboration with Normisjon, a Norwegian church organisation.
The project is designed to improve computer technology and skills for the visually impaired. Five teachers will be trained in Norway and then return to Bhutan where they will receive assistance to establish a national computer training centre for visually impaired students.
The project, which started in February 2006, is to run for a five year period. The project is also supported by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad) (http://www.norad.no/).
Norwegian and Swedish mission (The Norwegian Mission and KMA) has since 1965 been in close cooperation with the Royal Government of Bhutan about the development of health work and work for the visually impaired. The building of a school for the visually impaired in Khaling was started by Einar Kippenes in 1972, in cooperation with His Majesty Namgyal Wangchuck, the then minister for the Department of Trade, Industry and Forests in Bhutan.
The government took over the school in 1987 and it has since been under the administration of the Education Department. The school has been expanded further to cater for different disabilities and is now The National Institute for the Disabled (NID).
The initiative for the ICT project came from a blind former pupil now teaching at NID, Kuenga Chhoegyel. Contact was established with MediaLT in 2004 regarding computer technology and training for the visually impaired, and it was decided that the best solution would be to establish a national centre of competence in Bhutan.