Ismail Ahmed Ali

Manager, Al-basiir school for the blind,
Mogadishu Somalia

Speech Title: Challenges that people living with disability and there success in third world

My name is Ismail Ahmed Ali, I was born in Mogadishu Somalia on 18th August, nineteen ninety. My nationality is somali, my family consists of ten members, four brothers, three sisters, and lovely parents.

I was brought up in Mogadishu city, I joined school when I was nine years old, unfortunately, I lost my sight when I was thirteen years old as I was in class five. After I lost my sight I stayed indoors for about a year. One day a man called Abdukadir Alasow come to my home and told my sweet mom Habiba Hassan about a special school for the blind which had been open in the Lower Shabelle region especially the Marka district by a lady who was from South Korea named Sung Duck Cho. My mom come into my room as I was listening to a BBC program on the radio in the evening time, “I have good news my son”, she said to me! I switched off the radio and waited for the good news anxiously.” a  school for the visually impaired has been opened at Marka district”, she exclaimed with happiness. I accepted to join  school the next day without hesitating since I was very eager to be an educated man one day, so that I can help children who are visually impaired and remain indoors as well as  persons living with different disabilities.

In July 2004, I joined the rainbow school for the blind at Marka, teachers were all from Kenya.  I Was welcomed warmly at the school and I felt at home.After I had undergone rehabilitation,  I was able to integrate the society and henceforth decided not to be shy anymore, since visual impairment is normal. By the end of 2006, I was able to read and write Braille probably as I was choosing the prefect of my class and head boy of school at large. Then I returned to Mogadishu and joined Jabir bin hayan  School at souq bacaad where I completed my upper primary school through a scholarship that had been offered by ustaad Abdulkadir Mohamed Hassan. As I was progressing with my education, I was lucky to get a scholarship from Sung Duck Cho who was behind my success in Kenya at Thika primary school for the blind. I repeated class seven since the curriculum of Kenyan education was different from the one of Somalia. Fortunately, I excelled in my KCPE examination through hard work and resilience,Alhamdulillah.

 I joined  Thika high school in 2011 where i gained a lot of knowledge, skills, experience and became a multicultural person. At the end of 2014 after I finished high school I decided to come back to my lovely country in mogadishu,Somalia  to advocate for the rights of people living with disability and teach students who are visually impaired in Somalia since they were too behind compared to the rest of the people with disability of their age.At the same time I continued with my university education at one of the universities in Banaadir region,through a scholarship offered by Abdul Aziz Agene,the head of Job key university.

 Since I was away from my home for six and a half years, my family was eager to finally meet me physically. when I arrived at our home with my dear friend,  Abikar husin who drove me from the airport, my lovely parents and siblings were waiting tor me at home and we had a memorable re-union. In January 2015 I started teaching at Al-Bashir School for Blind in the Jabari district and after five Months the first group of those who were in class eight graduated, and I was given the honor to set their exams and write them down by my friend, who was the principal at Al-Bashir School for Blind during that time.


In March 2017 I became principal at Al-Bashir. Since then, five groups have graduated. The last group was able to do their exam in Braille examined at the national level, While others  Did their exams in oral form, that was the greatest success I have ever achieved in 2021 with the lovely family of Al-Bashir School for Blind. I was also privileged to be a representative of the disability team at the Somali national youth council (SNYC) to hold the position of secretary of education and creativity on 12th October, 2017. In May 2019, I became one of the founders of differently able youth (DAY) the board members had chosen me as chairperson of the organization where we have had a good history of success in our society UpTo date. Same year In October 2019, I was chosen to represent persons living with disability at the UN youth advisory board (YAB) head of the education department.  In 2021, I was honored to be a member of the divisibility leadership collective which is a body for representing the welfare of world persons with disability.

Prof. Marcia J. Scherer

University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry
New York

Speech Title: Making Sure Assistive Technology is the Solution, and Not a Problem

Marcia J. Scherer is a rehabilitation psychologist and founding President of the Institute for Matching Person & Technology She is also Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Rochester Medical Center where she received both her Ph.D. and MPH degrees.  She is a past member of the National Advisory Board on Medical Rehabilitation Research, National Institutes of Health, and is Editor of the journal Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology.  She is Co-Editor of the book series for CRC Press, Rehabilitation Science in Practice Series.   Dr. Scherer is Fellow of the American Psychological Association, American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine, and the Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA).  Dr. Scherer has authored, edited, or co-edited twelve book titles and has published over 90 articles in peer-reviewed journals, 55 published proceedings papers, and 35 book chapters on disability and technology. Her research has been cited 7500 times by others.  She has received numerous awards for her work in assistive technology.

Dr. Axel Kaehne 

Reader Health Services Research
Medical School
Edge Hill University

Axel was born and educated in Berlin (Germany) at Free University and Humboldt University and subsequently studied at Aberdeen University and the University of Wales. He settled in South Wales in 1996. In 2005 he took up a position of Research Fellow at the School of Medicine, Cardiff University and joined Edge Hill as a Senior Research Fellow in April 2013. He was appointed Reader in Health Service Research in 2016 and is currently Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Integrated Care. Axel is Visiting Professor at the Department of Health and Social Management at the University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio and  currently President of EHMA, the European Health Management Association (Brussels).

Research interests

Axel has designed and delivered evaluations of health improvement programmes in England and Wales and is also member of the Children’s Nursing Research Unit at Alder Hey, the Children’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

Axel has an interest in programme evaluations, evaluation methodologies and quantitative and qualitative approaches to research. Leading on from his work in intellectual disabilities, he has developed a research focus on multiagency work, service integration and partnerships in health services for patients with complex health care needs. More recently he has written on complexity and complex adaptive systems as evaluative frameworks to assess health service programmes and patient outcomes.

He leads the Special Interest Group for Integrated Care of the European Health Management Association and works with colleagues across England to establish an Integrated Care Researcher Network.


Post-Graduate Supervision and Teaching

Axel is teaching Research Methodologies, Quantitative Approaches and Statistics/SPSS on the MCh and MRes course of the Medical School and supervises currently three PhD students and several Master’s students.

Axel is leading a module in Strategic Clinical Leadership and leads the dissertation module for more than 65 students per cohort in the Masters in Surgery/ Masters in Medicine degree.

Plenary Speakers

Ms. Manique Gunaratne

Specialised Training and Disability Resource Centre
The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon
Sri Lanka


Manique Gunaratne is the Manager of the Specialised Training and Disability Resource Centre at The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon (EFC). She promotes inclusive economic development in all corners of Sri Lanka creating long term sustainable employment and livelihoods for persons with disabilities.
Driving the EFC’s Specialised Training and Disability Resource Centre which rests on the concept of ‘nothing about us without us,’ Manique translates it to all her efforts in empowering women and men with disabilities to be independent in society.
A highly skilled ICT professional who trains people with disabilities to be IT- savvy, Manique’s efforts to enhance the quality of lives of such people have been recognized by various global platforms to be having a significant impact on inclusive economic development.
Manique who lost her vision in her late twenties to Retinitis Pigmentosa is today a committed leader improving the lives of persons with disabilities. She is a specialist in training, promoting and developing information technology for persons with disabilities nationally and internationally. She is a member of the National Council for Persons with Disabilities in Sri Lanka. She also serves numerous international bodies. Manique is the Country Representative for World Disability and Rehabilitation Professionals’ Association (WDRPA), a steering committee member of the International Labour Organisation’s Global Business Disability Network (ILOGBDN), Vice Chairperson of the South Asian Disability Forum and an executive committee member of the Asia Pacific Women with Disability United.
Manique’s advocacy efforts to improve the quality of lives of people with disabilities have been recognized locally and internationally. Numerous national and international awards are to her credit. She is often invited to represent Sri Lanka at various international conferences, trainings, seminars and workshops. Manique is also an International Trainer in Cisco Qualifications and a Supported Employment Officer qualified from the Northern
Ireland Union of Supported Employment. While strongly believing in the ‘5-Ds’ of Dream- Desire- Determination-Dedication and While Discipline as her mantra for success, Manique strives to champion the same in others.

Assoc. Prof. Naoki Suzuki, Ph.D.

Assoc. Prof. Naoki Suzuki, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
Tokyo Gakugei University

Speech Title: Technology to Assist the Students with Disabilities in Physical Education

Dr.Naoki Suzuki completed his Ph.D. in 2007 on researching PE assessment at Tokyo Gakugei University in Japan. Prior to becoming a professor in 2004, he was an elementary school teacher for 9 years. He was a visiting scholar at the Adapted PE department, State University of New York in 2008 and at the University of Melbourne in 2017. He has an interest in teaching and researching Physical Education and Teacher Training and is challenging to incorporate the ICT into PE based on his previous research. He developed the distance learning and application for PE and positively implemented them for promoting the equity in PE.

Prof. Dorota Kobus - Ostrowska,

Prof. Dorota Kobus – Ostrowska

Institute of Economy

Faculty of Economics and Sociology

University of Lodz


Speech Title: Updating..

Dr. Dorothy Kobus-Ostrowska – Lecturer / Institute of Economy / Faculty of Economics and Sociology/ University of Lodz/Poland. After Ph.D. has been involved in Polish organizations focuses on people with disability. From January 2022 expert in the “Independent Life” project financed by the European Social Funds (EFS) under Knowledge Education Development Operational Programme (OP KED). Author 2 books and more than 50 articles – issues of the vocational activity persons with disabilities. Among the scientific journals in which she published her work: “Comparative Economic Research Central and Eastern Europe“, “Fibres&Textiles”, “National Economy.”, “Entrepreneurship and Management”, “Economy in Practice and Theory”, “Acta Universitatis Lodzensis”, “Optimum. Economic Studies”. Interests labor market of people with disabilities. Dorothy is grant holder of foreign partners universities, i.e.: Lund University (Sweden); Cooperative de Ensino Superior de Service Sociale (Portugal); Vytauto Didziojo Universitetas (LTD); University of Miscolc (Hungary); University of Tartu (Estonia), University of Macedonia (Greece), VSB Technical University of Ostrava (Czech Republic), University of Ankara (Turkey), Paula Frassinetti Departament de Formacao Educacao (PORTUGAL), Recep Tayyip Erdogan University (Turkey). Conference Chair for the World Disability and Rehabilitation Conference 2019-2021. Member of the WDRPA.

Mr Nekram Upadhyay

Mr. Nekram Upadhyay

Research Scholar, Department of Design
Delhi Technological University (DTU)

Speech Title: “Poorly designed assistive technology products can lead to secondary health complications and abandonment”

Nekram Upadhyay heads Department of Assistive Technology at Indian Spinal Injuries Centre, New Delhi, India. His primary work is focused on the provision of assistive technology services to people with special needs. He is also a research scholar at the Department of Design at Delhi Technological University (DTU), India. Mr. Upadhyay has been an active member of various national and international scientific societies and organizations in the field of Disability, Universal Design and Assistive Technology. He chairs the Special Interest Group on Assistive Technology and Orthotics of Spinal Cord Society-India.

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