IT helping people: HRH Princess Sirindhorn's IT initiatives

IT helping people: HRH Princess Sirindhorn's IT initiatives

From children born without arms or legs to people confined to prisons or hospitals, the princess's IT initiatives help people get an education, a job & a happy productive life.

Kamolluck Deeyai, a student at Srisangwan School, uses on-screen keyboard programmes to help her communicate.


Rehabilitating lives through IT

Initiatives under the patronage of HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn have improved prospects for countless disabled children and adults
Sasiwimon Boonruang

The IT initiative of HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn covers four major areas for the disadvantaged: IT for students in rural schools, IT for children with chronic illnesses, IT for prisoners and IT for people with disabilities. At present, more than 300 schools — including border patrol police schools — juvenile detention centres and 26 hospitals nationwide have been assisted. 

IT for the disabled

The two children Toyeebah Suemae and Abdulloh Barahamae were born without legs or arms. When they were young, their lives seemed hopeless. But with support provided under the patronage of HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, they can now see a bright future ahead.

As a result of regular physical rehabilitation sessions since the age of five, Toyeebah can now do things by herself without the assistance of others. The 23-year-old native of Narathiwat can carry out some normal daily activities and move around by herself. She has also received a good education. She will soon finish her bachelors degree in media science at Prince of Songkla University's Pattani campus. She is also currently working as a DJ at a local radio station.

Born without limbs, Toyeebah Suemae has been under HRH's patronage since the age of five.

Like Toyeebah, Abdulloh has been provided with assistive technology from a young age. The 20-year-old is studying at a school in Yala province. He is now independent in terms of daily living.

"The Princess believed that with lessons learned from Toyeebah, we could help Abdulloh in a more appropriate and quicker way," said Pairash Thajchayapong, assistant director of the Committee of Information Technology Projects under the initiative of HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn. Besides Toyeebah and Abdulloh, there is also the case of 10-year-old Supranee Dennehy, who was born with congenital limb deficiencies. With assistance and the rehabilitation technology provided to her since the age of one, Supranee can go to school and has been adopted by an American family, now living in the US.

Supranee Dennehy was born with no limbs, and has been under HRH's patronage since the age of one.

The Princess established the IT project in 1995, with the objective of enhancing the quality of life, improving the education and increasing employment opportunities for the disadvantaged, to empower them to benefit from an increased use of IT so they can participate fully in the economic and social development of the country. At the very least, the Princess hopes they can use technology to earn a living once they complete compulsory education. 

Besides children with congenital limb deficiencies, there are many students with physical impairments or cerebral palsy who have been supported by the Princess's IT project. Srisangwan School was the first place to benefit. The school was provided with a computer room with 10 machines for students with physical impairments. Other special education schools have been supported, including students with visual, hearing and intellectual impairments.

A student who has benefited from the use of IT ... on a regular basis is Kamolluck Deeyai. She has studied at Srisangwan School since Grade 1. Growing up, she learned to use assistive technology to access computers. Now, she uses on-screen keyboard programmes to communicate with others. In the future she plans to study in a science programme in high school.

The Princess's initiative has constantly provided support for students with visual impairments who are interested in studying science. To meet the needs of these children, she suggested the project committee collaborate with stakeholders in science education management.

Pairash said the committee learned techniques from Japanese experts to teach visually impaired students.

"We organised a science camp by working with the National Science Museum for four years in order to select students who were interested in studying science," he said. So far there are seven students on the project. In total, 12 students have been selected to receive a scholarship to study at high school and university.

Apart from IT in education, the Princess also saw the potential of assistive technology in helping soldiers and police injured in the line of duty.

Police Major General Noppadol Puerksomon, from Tak Bai district, Narathiwat province, was seriously injured by a landmine on the road. One of his legs needed to be amputated, and the other was broken. One of his hands was also damaged by the explosion. A team from Songklanagarind Hospital and Sirindhorn National Medical Rehabilitation Center created prosthetic limbs for him. Now he is back on duty in Songkhla province.

Police Major Colonel Wanna Boonchai is now a policeman in Songkhla province. While working in Yala province, he was shot in the neck, leading to paralysis. With support from the Princess's project, he received physical rehabilitation at Trang Hospital. Now he uses a sport video game to improve his physical and cognitive health.

IT for people in prisons

Thanawat Soparak had never used a computer until her time in prison.

"I just found out myself that I could work a computer and I loved it, so I did not stop at basic software. I studied more advanced programmes, such as Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator," she said.

Thanawat behaved well in prison, improving her knowledge of IT. Today she works in IT for a private company.

"I got a job because of the opportunity offered by the Princess," she said.

IT for children with chronic illnesses

Duangkamol Ngaokham, 21, completed her high school studies in a hospital through a non-formal education programme. When she was 13-years-old, Duangkamol found herself unable to attend classes due to life with the inherited blood disease thalassaemia, which required her to be hospitalised most of the time.

The Princess's IT initiative for children suffering with chronic diseases gave her the chance to study at the hospital. Now she is at university, working as a pharmacy assistant part-time.

Piyanat Noipong, one of the project's instructors, noted that young patients who have used the assistive technology have seen improvements in their level of education and mental health. Some of them are now ready to go back to school.

Students with visual impairments attend science camp.

Learn from listening

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  • access: having the opportunity to have or use something - มีโอกาสในการใช้
  • activity (noun): a thing that you do for work, interest or pleasure, or in order to achieve a particular aim - กิจกรรม
  • adopted: legally part of a family which is not the one in which you were born into - บุญธรรม
  • amputate (verb): when a doctor cuts a person's leg or hand off for some medical reason - ตัดออก (โดยเฉพาะด้วยการผ่าตัด), ตัด(แขน,ขา)
  • appropriate: (opposite: inappropriate) suitable or right for a particular situation or purpose - ที่เหมาะสม
  • as a result of: because of -
  • assistance: help; aid - ความช่วยเหลือ
  • assistant: a person who helps or supports somebody, usually in their job - ผู้ช่วย
  • assistive: helping - ช่วย; ความช่วยเหลือ
  • attend: to go to an event, such as a meeting, a show, a sports competition, etc. - เข้าร่วม (ในการประชุม, งานต่าง)
  • bachelors degree (noun): bachelors degree – the first degree that you get when you study at a university. Bachelor’s degrees include Bachelor of Arts (BA) and Bachelor of Science (BSc) - ระดับปริญญาตรี
  • bachelor’s degree: the first degree that you get when you study at a university. Bachelor’s degrees include Bachelor of Arts (BA) and Bachelor of Science (BSc) - ระดับปริญญาตรี
  • benefit: to get help or an advantage from something - ผลประโยชน์
  • border patrol police: the part of the police force that is responsible for border security - ตำรวจตระเวณชายแดน
  • broken: become apart - แตกหัก
  • campus (noun): the buildings of a university, college or business and the land around them - พื้นที่ที่เป็นที่ตั้งของมหาวิทยาลัย
  • carry out (verb): to do something, to finish and complete a task - ทำให้สมบูรณ์, ทำให้สำเร็จ
  • chance (noun): a possibility; a likelihood; an opportunity - โอกาส
  • chronic (adj): (of a disease, pain or problem) serious and lasting for a long time - เป็นประจำ
  • collaborate: to work together with someone else - ร่วมมือ
  • committee: a group of people who are chosen, usually by a larger group, to make decisions or to deal with a particular subject - คณะกรรมการ
  • communicate (verb): to express thoughts, feelings, or information to another person or animal, for example by speaking or writing - สื่อสาร, ติดต่อสื่อสาร
  • complete (verb): to finish something; to bring some project to an end after having done everything successfully - ทำเสร็จ, ทำให้สมบูรณ์
  • compulsory: if something is compulsory, you must do it because of a rule or law - ที่จำเป็นต้องทำ
  • constantly: continuously; all the time - อย่างต่อเนื่อง
  • currently: at this time; now - ในปัจจุบัน
  • daily (adj.): happening, done or produced every day - แต่ละวัน, ทุกวัน
  • damaged (adj): having received physical harm makes something less attractive, useful or valuable - ได้รับความเสียหาย
  • deficiency: lacking something -
  • detention (noun): forced to stay in a place - การกักตัว
  • detention centre: a place where young people who have committed offences are kept in detention - สถานกักกันเยาวชน
  • development: the gradual growth of something so that it becomes more advanced, stronger, etc - การพัฒนา
  • disability: an illness, injury or condition that makes it difficult for someone to do the things that other people do - ความพิการ
  • disadvantaged: not having the things, such as education, or enough money, that people need in order to succeed in life - ด้อยโอกาส, ผู้เสียเปรียบในสังคม
  • disease (noun): a health problem and problem with a person's body, often caused by an infection, either from a bacteria or virus - โรค
  • due to: because of - เนื่องจาก
  • duty: something that you have to do because it is part of your job, or something that you feel is the right thing to do - หน้าที่, ภารกิจ, ความรับผิดชอบ
  • earn a living: to earn enough money to support yourself/your family - หาเลี้ยงชีพ
  • employment (noun): when a person has work that earns them money - การจ้างงาน, การงาน
  • empower (verb): to give someone the power to do something - ทำให้มีอำนาจ
  • enhance (verb): to increase; to further improve the good quality, value or status of someone/something - เสริม ยกระดับ เพิ่มทวี
  • establish: to start a company or organization that will likely continue for a long time - สถาปนา, ก่อตั้ง, จัดตั้ง
  • expert: someone who has a particular skill or who knows a lot about a particular subject - ผู้เชี่ยวชาญ
  • explosion (noun): the sudden violent bursting and loud noise of something such as a bomb exploding; the act of deliberately causing something to explode - การระเบิด
  • grow up: becoming an adult or a mature and wise adult as one grows older -
  • hopeless: very bad (at something); with no ability or skill - ซึ่งไร้ความสามารถ
  • hospitalise: to send somebody to a hospital for treatment - ให้อยู่โรงพยาบาล
  • impaired: not fully able to do something - ซึ่งไมสมบูรณ์
  • impairment (noun): something that is wrong with a person so they cannot function or live life normally - การสูญเสียสมรรถภาพ
  • in terms of (idiom): regarding; used to show what aspect of a subject you are talking about or how you are thinking about it - เกี่ยวกับ, เกี่ยวข้องกับ
  • in the line of duty: doing the tasks required in a job, often dangerous work such as soldier or police -
  • independent: not taking help or money from other people - พึ่งตนเอง
  • inherit: to get something from the genes of your parents, such as hair colour, appearance or a genetic disease -
  • initiative: a new action or movement, often intended to solve a problem - ความคิดริเริ่ม
  • injured (adj): hurt in an accident, natural disaster, attack, etc. - ได้รับบาดเจ็บ
  • instructor (noun): teacher, trainer, educator - ครูผู้สอน, อาจารย์, ครู, ผู้สอน
  • juvenile (noun): a young person/animal who is not yet an adult - เยาวชน
  • knowledge (noun): all the facts that people know about a subject (example: medical knowledge) - ความรู้
  • limb (noun): an arm or a leg - แขนหรือขา
  • limbs: arms or legs  - ท่อนแขนท่อนขา
  • major: very large or important - สำคัญมาก
  • management: the people who run and control a business or similar organisation - คณะผู้บริหาร
  • media: radio, television, newspaper, the Internet, considered as a group - สื่อ
  • mental health: the state of health of the mind - สุขภาพจิต
  • nationwide: throughout a whole country - ทั่วทั้งประเทศ
  • native: connected with the place where you were born and lived for the first years of your life - พื้นเมือง
  • non-formal education: education outside of the traditional classroom setting; such as distance education or elearning over the internet -
  • normal (adj.): typical, usual or ordinary; what you would expect - ปกติ, ภาวะปกติ
  • objective (noun): what you plan to achieve; goal; aim; purpose - เป้าหมาย
  • opportunity (noun): a chance to do something, or a situation in which it is easy for you to do something - โอกาส
  • paralysis: not able to move or do things - อัมพาต
  • part-time (adj.): working or doing some other activity that is less than 40 hours per week, that does not use up all your time during the day (opposite: full-time) -
  • participate: to take part in or become involved in an activity - มีส่วน
  • patronage: a system of help or protection given to people, often in return for their support   - ระบบอุปถัมภ์
  • pharmacy: a shop where medicines are prepared and sold - ร้านขายยา
  • physical: connected with a person's body - เกี่ยวกับร่างกาย
  • potential: what is possible - ความเป็นไปได้
  • present (adjective): this time, happening now, happening currently - ปัจจุบันนี้
  • prison: a place where criminals are put to stay for a period of time as punishment for a crime - คุก, ,เรือนจำ
  • prisoner: a person who is kept in prison as a punishment, or while they are waiting for trial - นักโทษ
  • private: involving groups, businesses or industries that are not owned or controlled by the government - เอกชน
  • project: a planned piece of work that is designed to find information about something, to produce something new, or to improve something - โครงการ
  • prosthetics: replacement body parts made by humans - กายอุปกรณ์, -สิ่งใส่เทียม๒. -จัดใส่สิ่งใส่เทียม
  • province: one of many divisions of the government of a country into smaller parts - จังหวัด
  • quality of life: how nice and pleasant a person's life is, money being important but not the only factor - คุณภาพชีวิต, ลักษณะของการดำรงชีวิต, การใช้ชีวิต
  • regular (adj): normal; following a pattern, especially with the same time and space in between each thing and the next - ปกติ, เป็นประจำ, เสมอๆ
  • rehabilitation: the process of returning someone or something to a good or healthy condition, state or way of living - การทำให้กลับสู่สภาพเดิม, การทำให้กลับมาดีเหมือนเดิม
  • rural: connected with the countryside outside big towns and cities  - ในชนบท, บ้านนอก
  • session (noun): a period of time that is spent doing a particular activity -
  • social (adjective): related to society, to people and the way they are connected to each other and interact with each other - เกี่ยวกับสังคม
  • stakeholder: someone who has an interest in the success of a plan, system, or organization, for example a worker in a company or the parent of a child at a school - ผู้ถือผลประโยชน์ร่วม
  • suggest: to mention an idea or a plan for somebody else to think about - เสนอ, เสนอแนะ
  • support: to give help, encouragement or sympathy to somebody - สนับสนุน, เป็นกำลังใจ
  • technique: a method of doing something using a special skill that you have developed - เทคนิค, กลวิธี (เฉพาะด้าน)
  • visual: relating to sight - เกี่ยวกับการมองเห็น
  • visually: in a way that involves the appearance or something or looking at something - เห็นได้ด้วยตา
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