Association for Assistive Technology “Open the Windows” – Skopje
Open the Windows is the sole organization in Macedonia and the wider region that is entirely focused on promoting assistive technology. Since its establishment in 2005, the organization grew into recognizable and respected organization that uses technology as a tool for fostering the inclusion of persons with disabilities.
The operations of the organization are conducted through two main activities:
On the one hand, Open the Windows is a service provider for assistive technology that provides three types of services for persons with disabilities: individualized support for computer and internet use, individual assessment of assistive technology needs and advisory-consultative support for assistive technology use.
On the other hand, implements projects for promotion of massive technology use through: capacity strengthening of other actors, development of innovations and research, and awareness raising and informing.
Since 2010, the organization has been particularly active in mainstream education: the organization introduced assistive technology in almost 10% of all primary schools in the country and started piloting assistive technology use in secondary education. For the first time ever, in 2013 the state used public budget funds to procure assistive peripherals for the partner schools.
In 2014, the association began a nation-wide research on the situation of persons with disabilities in Macedonia. For the first time since its establishment, Open the Windows ran a research that is not entirely limited to issues related to assistive technology, but includes issues such as the rights of human and civil rights of persons with disabilities in general. This engagement reflects the understanding that the inclusion of persons with disabilities is a precondition for their e-inclusion.
The association is well-connected at national and international level. The organization is an active member of two European networks: EASPD and Telecentre Europe and has positive experience in cooperating with actors from the civic, public and business sectors.
Open the Windows received the ERSTE Foundation Social Integration Award in 2013 and the UNITE IT Digital Inclusion Award in 2014, as well as other national and local recognitions.