The Sao Mai Computer Center is the social achievement of the Bung Sang Computer Project (for the creation of a computer center for the blind in HCM City, Nov. 1999 - Nov. 2001) realized with funds from the EU, the Province of Bolzan, the Veneto Region, the Province of Milan, the Mantovan Association of Bolzan and Venice.
The Center has been established at the end of 2001 by the Ho Chi Minh City Branch of VIETNAM SAVE THE DISABLED CHILDREN ASSOCIATION (HSDCA), on the base of two agreements. One with the Mantovan Association of Venice/Bolzan by which they received the technology acquired during the Bung Sang Computer Project and the other with the Association Italy Vietnam, Veneto Committee, that has contributed to the costs of operating the Center for year 2002.
The Center does not have independent legal status yet. It is necessary to overcome some restrictions in the Vietnamese legal system to reach this goal. For the time being it is under the responsability of the HSDCA that has established a Managing Committee:
Mr. Nguyen Khue (Director; member of HSDCA)
Mr. Dang Hoai Phuc ( Assistant director; blind; former student in the Bung Sang Project)
Ms Phan Thuy Phuong (blind member; trained at the Center)
Ms. Phuong Thi Thom (Administrator)
Mr. Carlo Pizzato (Advisor)
Four former blind students from the Bung Sang Project (D.C.Hung, T. Binh, N. T. Son, N. H. Bao Vu) have been the first instructors of the Center. At the moment Mr. T. Binh is on a scholarship in Japan where he is taking the Computer Science Course at Osaka Prefectural School for the Blind. Now the Center trainers are:
The Center is also assisted by a Committee of Advisors currently composed of Mr. Tran Ha Nam, (computer engineer who has devised the NDC editor by which the blind can read and write Vietnamese) Mr. Carlo Pizzato and Mr. Oh Duk.
The Computer Center is established for promoting the use of information technology in education, vocational training, online social and cultural activities among the visually impaired community of Vietnam in view of broadening their professional opportunities and facilitating the integration of the community with the sighted world.
The Center was set up with a local network of seven computers, all equipped with screen reader and Braille Display, a Braille printer that may emboss up to 288 Braille pages per hour, technology for the recording and the reproduction of sounds (Yamaha keyboard, CD writer) and equipment for the production of tactile images.
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