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Tuesday, March 1, 2005 13:18 GMT
Phunkmedia Cafe
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Phunkmedia cafe
Phunkmedia cafe
tiny Southampton Institute graduate Michael Ikeneku has set up an internet cafe with a difference. Phunkmedia aims to cater for people with disabilities as well as the city's international students.
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Phunkmedia
Bevois Valley Road
Southampton

Phunkmedia is open late to enable students without home computers to work on research and assignments.

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Michael himself is dyslexic, something he only faced up to recently: "I was hiding away from it until it came to the point where I knew it was affecting my work at uni and I had to seek help. You can't run away from it."

Michael Ikeneku
Michael Ikeneku

After many years of struggling with his studies, Michael was able to complete his degree in Business Information Technology with the help of specialist software.

By opening Phunkmedia, he hopes to help other dyslexic students with their studies as well as less able-bodied individuals and those with visual disabilites. The centre has various aids that can help.

Each PC has been installed with special software including voice recognition programmes, modified keyboards and mice as well as special screens and programmes for the visually impaired. There are also coloured screen filters which have been shown to help dyslexic users.

person using voice recognition
Voice recognition programmes can aid disabled computer uses.

It's not only the city's diasbled users that Michael hopes will benefit from the cafe. Southampton is home to many international students and residents and Michael hopes that the centre will help promote communication across these communties. Phunkmedia is located in Bevois Valley, an area with a large multi-cultural society.

This is Michael's first business project and he is optimistic it will be a success: "Nothing ventured, nothing gained. You've got to take a risk if you want to succeed in life, in anything you want to do."

The Mayor of Southampton, Councillor Dennis Harryman, officially opened Phunkmedia at a special ceremony on Friday 28th January.

 
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