Expanding Freedoms of People with Visual Impairment Through Information and Communication Technologies: Narratives from Bangladesh

Md Kamrul Hasan, Mahfuz Ashraf, Padmanesan Narasimhan, Rimjhim Aggarwal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Information and communication technologies (ICTs) have become an element of strategic importance to all countries. Researchers argue that ICTs may open up new avenues for economic growth, competitiveness and human development. It is widely recognised that ICTs have the potential of overcoming many of the barriers faced by people with visual impairment (VI). Based on an interpretive study using the narrative interview method, this article contributes to this literature by presenting perceptions and understandings of how the use of ICTs can be used to promote the 'development' of people with VI in Bangladesh. We approached this study through the economist and Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen's work on 'development as freedom' that focuses on, among other themes, five dimensions of freedom - social, economic, protective, political and transparency. We collected stories from 18 people with VI who had received ICTs training and support from resource centres, and from some disability rights activists and leaders who use ICTs. Our findings suggest that ICTs can be used as tools for improving the wellbeing of people with VI by enhancing different aspects of freedom suggested by Sen. ICTs tools assist people with VI by providing them with educational and work opportunities, and thus increase the potential for social inclusion and economic development. We conclude that governments, nongovernment organisations and development partners in countries such as Bangladesh may use ICTs to expand different types of 'freedom' for marginalised groups such as people with VI and persons with disabilities in general.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalInternational Journal of Disability Management
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018

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Keywords

  • Bangladesh
  • development
  • freedom
  • Information communication technologies (ICTs)
  • people with visual impairment
  • persons with disabilities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

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