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Professional empowerment of deaf and hard of hearing persons

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At the beginning of June 2008 IAN has started implementing the project "Professional empowerment of deaf and hard of hearing persons". Within the project 24 persons with hearing impairment will have the opportunity to gain skills and knowledge needed in a modern working environment and demanded at the local labour market, which would help them to find a job or apply for better positions.

The education includes intensive classes at the IAN Computer school as well as Social Skills Courses, and for those interested in initiation of own business we organized entrepreneurship courses. If they demonstrate sufficient IT knowledge in using a personal computer, and pass the appropriate tests, course participants have a chance to obtain an international certificate called European Computer Driving License. Three most successful participants will attend practical training for becoming IT teachers and certified ECDL testers. They will be engaged in future IAN projects related to work with the people with hearing impairment. The second project goal is professional empowerment of the staff from the associations of people with hearing impairment interested in IT education, who use personal computers at work.

This project is implemented in partnership with the Serbian Association of deaf and hard of hearing persons, with the financial support of the Ministry of labour and Social Policy, Microsoft Serbia and Open Society Fund.

This is what Vesna P., a thirty-year-old course participant, said about the courses: "This education program means a lot to me for my future employment. I expect to find a job as a physical therapist in a health institution, and I need to use a computer for scheduling patients, keeping medical records and writing reports. So far, I have attended and successfully completed exams in 3 courses - Windows, Word and Excel, and I hope that I will successfully finish the other four courses and get the ECDL certificate."

This professional empowerment program aims at providing additional education leading towards improvement of economic position and decrease of unemployment among the people with hearing impairment.

The press conference where the project was presented was held on the 3rd. September 2008 in Media centre in Belgrade .

The speakers at the conference were :

Vesna Petronijević and Milan Tomović, beneficiaries attending the professional empowerment courses within the project

Dejan Cvetković, General Manager of Microsoft Serbia

Milena Banović, junior counsellor in the Sector for protection of the people with disabilities within the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy.

• Ivan Stojilović , Coordinator of IAN Education Department / IAN Telecentar




There are around 4000 persons with hearing impairment living in Belgrade. They feel enormous pressure of living in a transitional country. According to a research conducted on the territory of Serbia, 79% of persons with disabilities is unemployed (1), while the unemployment among the general population is around 20%. More than 70% of persons with disabilities had very low income and they belong to the category of poor. According to the data of the Serbian Association of deaf and hard of hearing most of the people with hearing impairment finishes the school for manual occupations, and "44% of the surveyed people with disabilities believe that people with disabilities do not have enough knowledge and experience for work." (2)

1) Centar za proučavanje alternativa - The results were published in the book "Osobe sa invaliditetom i okru ž enje" (Persons with disabilities and the environment) (editor prof. dr Viktorija Cucić), CPA, Belgrade , 2001.

2) Olivera Lapčević et al. "Istraživanje o zapošljavanju i samozapošljavanju osoba sa invaliditetom u Republici Srbiji" (Research on employment and self-employment of people with disabilities in Serbia ) 2007, Centar za inkluzivno društvo


Contact person Gordana Stankov Stojilovic



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