Up early morning- Richard headed off to service aircraft, myself speaking to all the SCB staff in Djakarta- great, enthusiastic team; me introduced by Ramesh Sundara, CIO here, in absence of CEO Simon Morris, currently in London!
After a 45 min. presentation and questions, heard great South African accent- Robin Bearstow from Cape Town, who subsequently sent some biltong(jerky) to my room- heavenly to taste the real McCoy again- many thanks my friend!
Lunch time visited the Friends of the Blind Association on outskirts of Djakarta, headed up by Bambang Basuki, a great visionary man, doing wonders with very limited resources in a small building.
Every room I visited there was crammed with staff and clients that included blind school children, who go there after school to learn new skills.
Their services include internet access via JAWS English screen reader (trying to get development of local language screen reader), brail transcription using university student volunteers, electronic transcription from Word documents into braille with Indonesian braille contractions and reverse process, audio books into DAISY format for CD/MP3 access, electronic dictionary local language/english, keyboard and braille skills, uploading
braille books via internet to users to print,and much more.
I had the honour of presenting to the association a number of new computers with speech-output screen reading software from the Standard Chartered Bank- precious, precious gateways for the blind into our digital world.I came away really inspired to see how much is being done here with such enthusiasm, despite such limited resources for a country with some 3 million blind citizens.Just great to see the Standard Chartered Bank so involved, providing support for those who will never see again, but want to live independent, meaningful lives- computer skills the doorway into employment and independence for blind people the world over today…
Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day, give a blind man a computer with speech-access and you feed him and his family for a lifetime…
Great evening corporate event at Dutch-style large home, typical of Dutch East Indies style- as you know, the Dutch were in Indonesia from early in the 1600's until 1945, with Indonesia becoming independent after the Japanese occupation during World War 2. Indonesia an amazing archipelago of some 13,000 islands in a crescent shape, covering some 2,000 miles across the ocean between Australia and South-East Asia.National slogan: Unity in Diversity. Some 56 languages, and literally hundreds of different tribes originally, now national language (similar to Malay) recognised in 1926 to unite the country.
Some 100 corporate guests and SCB staff and other guests; beautiful Indonesian music tinkling in background by Indonesian band whilst drinks/snacks served,
Myself doing several TV and journalist interviews before event starts.
Video intro/greetings made by Simon Brown, CEO for SCB here in his absence, then moving testimony by local woman with her young daughter of around seven years old, now already able to see again after cataract operations, with treatment continuing.Some fascinating Indonesian dancing then, with dancers with spiky hair, long fingernails and some sort of baby-snatching miming going on- great music and drum rhythms, but the plot totally lost on me, despite whispered descriptions by Richard and Jon Cook! Then an absolutely fascinating and moving presentation about needs of blind people in Indonesia by eye specialist Dr. Tjahjono, reminding us that 83% of the information we receive each day is through the eye, just 11% from the ear, and the other senses collecting the rest- sight is very important! Highest percentage of blindness in world in developing countries; Indonesia highest percentage in world, followed by India, Bangladesh.
The SCB also working in Indonesia with the Helen Keller International foundation, the Christian Blind Mission and the Indonesian Ophthalmologists Association.
Finally myself introduced by Vikas Suri, Head of Global Markets for SCBAfterwards spoke again to some of the amazing microlight pilots who flew into Djakarta with us yesterday from the Federation Aerosports Indonesia, before heading off to our hotel to prepare for our early flight tomorrow- tired, but, once again, deeply touched by all we had experienced today, the people we met, and the great work of the bank in this massive scattered country.
Thought for the Day: "Sight without vision is equal to blindness" -Helen Keller