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Overbrook's International Program


Phase 1: Philadelphia campus-based

From 1985-1998, Overbrook hosted an International Program that trained blind and low vision students between the ages of 18 and 21 from all over the world.  This special, one-year program provided students with intensive training in the areas of access technology, English, orientation and mobility, and leadership development.  A total of 281 students and 38 teachers of the blind representing 43 countries from all regions of the world completed the program.

Visit our International Alumni Profile page to learn more about their many accomplishments.

This first phase of the Overbrook International Program created a network of individuals who returned home with a real appreciation of how new developments in information technologies for the blind could have a positive impact on their lives and the lives of other blind persons in their country.  By the early 1990's, Overbrook was receiving more and more requests from governments around the world to help them to use these new technologies to expand education and employment opportunities for all blind persons. These numerous requests led to a second phase of the International Program.


Phase 2: Regional and National Outreach

It became clear that a more regionally-based program would allow Overbrook’s International Program to reach significantly larger numbers of blind and low vision persons and, most importantly, to strengthen the capacity of local organizations to more effectively use new technologies within their education, rehabilitation, and job training programs.

Between 1996-2009, the Overbrook International Program has developed three regional and/or international outreach initiatives in Eastern and Central Europe, Southeast Asia, and China

From 1996-2002, the first of these regional initiatives, the Eastern European Network on Access Technology (EENAT) was operated in collaboration with the Open Society Institute. EENAT's legacy has provided impetus for a number of European Union projects and, most importantly, through the networking and hard work of many EENAT project partners, the use of access technology has been greatly expanded, and many of the countries involved with Project EENAT are now leaders in the field of access technology in Europe.

The following Yes, I Can publications resulted from the efforts of EENAT participants:

    • Yes, I Can! (1999) Profiles of persons with visual impairment working in open market employment.

    • Yes, They Can! (2000) A training manual to prepare parents and educators of blind and visually impaired individuals in the field of access technology.

    • Yes, We Can!  A public education video that follows three individuals - a primary school student, a university student and a businessperson -  through a typical day and demonstrates how access technology assists them in their education or employment. 

A Local and International Resource

In addition to the activities listed above, the International Program at Overbrook serves as a reference and referral point for organizations and individuals in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, area, the United States, and worldwide.  The International Program frequently hosts visitors from abroad as well as local and regional guests who are seeking information and resources.

Current Phase of International Program
Overbrook-Nippon Network on Educational Technology (On-Net)

Overbrook China Initiative