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Accessible inclusive education ICT for refugees with disabilities.

Re-think the design of existing ICT4Disability solutions to make them 10x cheaper and suitable for refugee and rural contexts.

Photo of Christopher Pruijsen
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An estimated 15 percent of the world’s population - or 1 billion people - live with some form of disability. There are an estimated 150 million children in the world with disabilities, about 80 percent of them in developing countries, and fewer than 2 percent are enrolled in school. Over 80 percent of person living with disabilities, live in developing countries. Current assistive devices and inclusive technologies are too expensive, and not suited to developing market and rural contexts. Our mission is to create inclusive technologies suitable for developing markets and at 10% cost. Initial focus on 2 open-source devices - identified after discussions with Handicap International. 1: a solar-powered communication tool (ie. Proxtalker) using NFC tags & Open NFC, at $200 max cost incl 80 tags. (NFC tags are ~$1 each) 2: a solar-powered combined Braille type-writer (ie. Perkins Brailler) and Braille-printer (ie. Braigo), at max. $200 cost, using a Raspberry Pi (~$28 computer) & 3D printable components. Sources: and more...


Children and adults with disabilities in (and outside) refugee situations. This will give people an ability to express themselves, not only in their immediate community but also to the wider world, as the plan is to enable writing from the Braillers to be shared on an online platform with the wider world.


We are working on prototyping, functional requirements and design parameters at the moment. Once we have the functioning prototypes for the two devices ready, we plan to create several devices (20x) and ship these via DHL to Handicap International locations in Africa as well as possibly Asia, for testing. At a later stage we could potentially 3D print components closer to location or on location - which is something we are exploring. Once the product is tested and we have a version ready for manufacturing, we could manufacture in China at scale to further lower the cost of the device to make it truly as accessible as possible for development organizations, refugees and rural contexts. This is an open source / non-profit project so anyone interested in helping, do get in touch :) Since this project blends hardware and software, we can really use a variety of skill-sets.


We have spoken with Handicap International who have expressed an interest in testing the devices on site in several of their program locations. Other interested (testing) parties: Government of Liberia, Government of Colombia, UNESCO- IFAP (Info for All Programme) and more.

SKILL SHARE (optional)

We can use expertise on manufacturing & related areas and are keen to discuss this with other passionate individuals/orgs :)


Our team has a strong background in cognitive science, computer science, hardware engineering, education and international development, social entrepreneurship and supply chain management. Our engineers come from UC Berkeley, MIT Media Lab and the Child Study Center at Yale University.


  • Yes, and I am looking for a partner working with refugee communities to implement this idea.


Join the conversation:

Photo of OpenIDEO

Hi Christopher, interesting post! Any chance you could find an image to go along with it? Images help grab attention and tell a story with higher impact. You should be able to use the Edit Contribution button on the top of your post and follow the instructions to add images from there. Looking forward to seeing more of your inspiring insights on OpenIDEO.

Photo of Alexandra Berrio

Thanks so much for the suggestion! We were able to upload a couple images showing existing prototypes from one of our team members. We look forward to the next stage of the challenge!