Benetech’s Top Stories of 2019
2019 was a year of many milestones for Benetech. We surpassed 15 million books delivered through Bookshare, piloted Benetech Service Net to increase access to social services in the Bay Area, named the first Global Certified Accessible publisher, and continued to advance the ethical use of software and artificial intelligence to promote human rights. In our work across education, poverty alleviation, and human rights, our community of users, partners, employees, and supporters have shared their perspectives on the power of software for social good. Below are our top five blogs of 2019 that highlight these impactful stories.
Haben Girma, the deafblind woman who conquered Harvard Law,
uses her personal journey and expertise to advocate for equal opportunities and
inclusion for people with disabilities. We had the opportunity to interview
Haben about her best-selling memoir, Haben: The Deafblind Woman Who Conquered Harvard Law. Haben
shares her insights with us on being deafblind, employment discrimination, the
power of disability pride, and technological innovations that foster inclusion.
Haben’s full interview.
Benetech user researcher, Alex Cabral, describes our work
implementing a Benetech Service Net pilot in Sacramento. The blog reveals why a
community-based approach is essential to developing software for social good: “Problems
faced by the community as a whole require whole community collaboration to
solve them.” Read
For Junia Howell, PhD, dyslexia is not something to
overcome, but something to embrace, harness, and celebrate. In this guest post
for the Benetech and Bookshare blogs, Howell shares how she uses technology and
leverages her capabilities to achieve and lead as a sociologist and professor. Read
Professor Junia Howell’s story.
Shabnam Mojtahedi is a lawyer focused on rule of law and
human rights in the Middle East and North Africa region. At Benetech, she is
leading efforts to apply artificial intelligence to help civil society
organizations pursue justice and accountability in Syria and beyond. In this
blog, Shabnam shares her perspective on the complicated intersection of
technology and human rights. Read
“The Complicated Intersection of Tech and Human Rights.”
Aggie Angeles is the Bookshare country manager in the
Philippines, where she is leading a charge to create more learning
opportunities for Filipinos who are blind or have other disabilities that
affect reading. In this enlightening Q&A, she describes her work with
community partners to increase access to books for Filipinos with reading
barriers and her vision for expanding Bookshare to every corner of the
Philippines. Read the
Q&A about Bookshare in the Philippines.
Thank you for supporting Benetech in 2019. As we enter 2020,
we invite you to contemplate the impact that technology has had on the world
and ask “what if?”
What if all people could have information about human
services in their region? What if all students could access the books that they
need to learn and succeed in school? What if we could make it easier for human
rights defenders to use digital evidence to pursue justice? Together we can make “what if?” happen.