First ATM launched in UAE for visually impaired

Sharjah Islamic Bank announced today the launch of the first visually impaired friendly Automated Teller Machine (ATM) in the country and the region.

The announcement was made during a press conference held at the Emirates Association for the Blind in Sharjah, under the patronage of Sheikha Jamila bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Director of Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services (SCHS) and in the presence of Mohammed Abdullah, CEO of Sharjah Islamic Bank, Adel Al Zamar, Vice Chairman of the Emirates Association for the Blind in Sharjah, a number of senior directors of departments and branches and representatives of the IT solution provider.

The launch of the first visually impaired friendly ATM is consistent with the country's intention to meet the needs of people with special needs and is in line with the eagerness of HH Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah to remove all obstacles which stand in the way of carrying out projects in aid of the visually impaired.

Ruler of Sharjah has recently ordered banks to offer facilities to the blind in response to a telephone call made by Manar Al Hamadi, a blind lawyer, to Al Bath Al Mubasher Program. SIB has opened a bank account for her and soon after announced the launch of the new ATM.

Speaking on the occasion, Mohammed Abdullah, CEO of Sharjah Islamic Bank, said, "We are thrilled to launch the first visually impaired friendly ATM in the region. We have many reasons to be proud, as we have succeeded to live up to the ambition of His Highness Ruler of Sharjah in serving the visually impaired who are part and parcel of mainstream society. We have set a new precedence in our country in this field and proved, once again, our commitment to carry out our corporate social responsibility programs. This step will boost the banking sector, in general, and Islamic banking, in particular".

Meanwhile, Adel Al Zamar, Vice Chairman of SCHS, said, "The launch of this service reflects both the interest of decision makers in the role of the visually impairedin society and the commitment to help, support and take extra care of this important segment of society. This step is a good omen of many other services to come. The initiative demonstrates the SIB's leadership in offering this high end service which significantly benefits the Emirates Association for the Blind".

The new ATM features a large Braille keypad, high resolution screen, wide keys, headphone and external speaker to ensure the user's privacy. The system has fewer options than the normal one for greater user convenience. The machine is designed for the visually impaired, but can be also used by others.

CNS, the local agent of the German Wincor company, said. "As a result of our negotiation with the Sharjah Islamic Bank, we speeded up in implementing the directives of designing an innovative product for visually impaired people. We have developed a solution that facilitates banking services for the blind through a sophisticated ATM".

The company asked the journalists and media representatives at the press conference to inaugurate the machine by closing their eyes to feel the experience and develop a greater understanding and sympathy for the service that will be offered to the blind. Journalists highly appreciated the experience of the functions and services it will deliver to users. They asked that this service be enabled cover as large an area the country as possible in the soonest time possible.

The ATM is located in the Emirates Association for the Blind in Sharjah's headquarters where the visually impairedpeople will be trained to use the machine by a team from the bank in collaboration with the EABS.

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