- March 23, 2024

The AT Fellows’ Reflection Corner is a space for fellows to share their thoughts and insights as they work on varied projects through their fellowship. In this fourth and final issue of AT Digest, Yusra Gilani from Pakistan reflects on her contribution to the wide distribution of the AT User Survey across her country that resulted in a huge number of responses from Pakistan. This digest also includes reflections of Nayem Molla (Bangladesh) from the in-depth workshop on assistive technology in Bangladesh. 


Yusra Gilani, AT User Fellow, Pakistan 

IDA launched the AT User online survey in November 2023. I was entrusted with the task of cultivating responses from AT Users, respondents throughout Pakistan. For this task, I used  various procedures including web-based engagement through social media networks like X (Twitter), Facebook, LinkedIn WhatsApp, and emails. Most significantly, I consistently partook in addressing the right audience. I also collaborated with organizations of persons with disabilities (OPDs) and student representatives, which multiplied my entire influence tenfold! My engagement with the communities was not limited to introducing the AT surveys to them, but was more focused on generating substantial responses, for which I personally navigated through their ambiguities alongside. As the survey was in English, I explained the survey in Urdu to overcome the linguistic barriers, I shared voice notes on WhatsApp for guidance for some respondents. I was very particular so as to not influence the responses to the survey and limiting my support to translation and technical support, where required. It is important to note that approximately 11% of total response of the survey has been received from Pakistan. A consistent and well-planned effort has brought this immense response from this Global South country where people have limited access to internet and devices. I was more closely engaging with my community at a grassroots level. Extensive levels of communication with each respondent expanded my horizons in learning more about the everyday hurdles faced by persons with disabilities, this survey supported me to expand my network and offered space to strengthen my role in the OPD movement in Pakistan. 


Nayem Molla, AT User Fellow, Bangladesh 

Facilitating the workshop on assistive technology in Bangladesh was an extremely valuable learning experience for me. As a member of the co-facilitation team, I gained first-hand exposure to training and engaging diverse participants from across the disability movement. My co-facilitators demonstrated inclusive facilitation techniques by using simple language, examples, and activities that resonated with all participants. By observing their methods of making sessions interactive, accessible, and engaging, I was able to enhance my own facilitation skills. For example, I learned how to effectively use plain language, analogies, and activities to convey concepts clearly. Additionally, I acquired skills for facilitating a diverse range of participants, including those with visual impairments, hearing impairments, intellectual disabilities, and others. Participating in this workshop has further expanded my knowledge of assistive technology. Facilitating sessions on the AAAAQ framework, social protection schemes, and advocacy planning allowed me to apply my existing knowledge in this field. Interacting with a wide range of participants, from individuals with disabilities to representatives from organizations such as Helen Keller International and Centre for Disability in Development, provided valuable opportunities for mutual learning. My connections within the Bangladesh disability movement have also significantly strengthened. The network I have developed with OPDs, and organizations will be invaluable as I continue to work towards promoting access to assistive technology. This experience has reaffirmed my dedication and given me a renewed sense of confidence in my role within the disability movement in Global South.