The Benetech Human Rights team is always seeking new opportunities to connect with grassroots human rights activists and share experiences and lessons learned to help strengthen and defend freedom of expression around the world. We were therefore delighted to host the 2015 cohort of The Internet Freedom Fellows program at our Palo Alto offices earlier this month.
The Skoll Foundation and the United Nations Foundation awarded Benetech a grant to bring written content to millions of people with visual impairments in India. This new grant will enable Benetech to scale up our Bookshare library services in India, where people with visual impairments face a severe dearth of accessible books in formats they can read. It supports a partnership between Benetech and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) to expand production and delivery of books in accessible formats in local Indian languages.
We are delighted to share that USAID, World Vision, and the Australian Government awarded Benetech a 2015 grant to improve literacy for primary school students who are blind in India. The new grant, under the three partners’ All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development literacy innovations competition, funds our proposed winning project to provide Indian students who are blind with mother tongue instruction and reading materials through Bookshare, our digital library of accessible books.
In the United States, all too many students with disabilities are still denied equal opportunity to engage in the same curriculum as their peers without disabilities because they do not have adequate access to educational materials that are necessary to learn and succeed in school. The good news is that major changes in technology are reforming education, writes CEO Jim Fruchterman in a United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) report, The State of the World’s Children 2015.
10X: ten times the impact. That’s what’s been on my mind lately. How can our existing successful programs reach ten times more people? How can we use technology in a new way to improve people’s lives that is an order of magnitude better? Can we help stimulate the creation of far more technology-for-good ventures? At Benetech, we want to help lead the charge into a future where the advantages of digital information touch the lives of all people, not just of the richest and most able five percent of humanity. As always, I’m delighted to share the latest Benetech highlights as we work on these ambitious 10X dreams!