5 Omani women develop mobile application for visually impaired

December 26, 2018

Five Omani women have come together to develop an app for the visually impaired. The app Aon will have a map of Oman and list of restaurants offering menu in Arabic Braille.

The team comprises Shurooq Najwani, Amina al Maqbali, Saud al Nofali, Muaed al Baluchi and Ahmed al Rawahi.

The app Aon came first among 19 projects in a competition of First Spring Forward Leaders programme.

The competition was conducted in collaboration with the British Council and Springboard Consultancy UK under the auspices of Ministry of Civil Service and Ooredoo.

Speaking to Muscat Daily , Shurooq, the team leader of Aon, said, “We started work on this project in July. Aon is an Arabic word meaning ‘help’ or ‘relief’ in English.”

On how the idea of the project came about, she said, “It came from a post in social media last year. An American girl shared a photo of her 18 year old blind sister who was offered a Braille menu for the first time in her life. When I saw that post I thought why not apply the same concept in Oman and provide Arabic Braille menus in restaurants. This way the visually impaired will have the freedom to order food on their own.”

Shurooq said that the second part of the project is for the deaf and dumb which will help them book cinema tickets via this app. “We are implementing this part after meeting Sultan al Amri, the first hearing impaired TV announcer in Arabia.”

She said that the app will have a map of Oman and details of restaurants offering Arabic Braille menus and a movie schedule in sign language. “We are planning to have a section where the disabled can request to add the menu of a certain restaurant or sign language translation of a particular movie.”

Shurooq said that Oman needs this project as every person has the right to live independently. “I strongly feel that such a project should be implemented not only in Oman but in the whole world. Now, the main challenge is to convince restaurants to be part of the project and get statistics of the disabled in Oman.

“Our app is not available on App store yet. Hopefully, we can launch it in the near future. We are looking for sponsors to fund the project before launching it,” Shurooq said.