Bringing Digital Sight to the Vision Impaired by the Accessible Foundation

I want to further develop the Free and open source orca screen reader for the 360 million vision impaired users in the world.
Jonathan Nadeau
Douglas, Massachusetts
United States
4 Team Members
In the year 2013, we are surrounded by technology which provides near constant connectivity to the internet. We have phones in our pockets that are faster than the computers we owned 10 years ago. We have glasses and watches providing all kinds of information to us every minute. What kind of things do you do with your technology and accomplish on a daily basis? What advantages does it give you? Have you ever considered what it would be like to use this technology if you couldn't see? You would quickly find out that despite the fact that most tech has progressed by leaps and bounds, people with vision impairments are being left behind.

What would happen if we could give access to a computer to the vision impaired users of the world?

There are 360 million vision impaired people who live in the world today. The fact is, the vast majority of these people are being forgotten in the technological revolution we are living in, without any access to computers or other devices most people take for granted. If you join me and pledge to this campaign, we will give the advantages of technology to vision impaired users once and for all. Just imagine what vision impaired users could do if they could send emails to friends or their family members. Or if they could visit their favorite social network and connect with like minded people or people that struggle with the same things they do. They could write the next great play, movie, or novel. Who knows where the next great web application might come from or some ground breaking innovation. Without access to a computer for the vision impaired users of the world, we will never know.

The way that a vision impaired user accesses a computer is through software called a screen reader. The screen reader reads out loud the text on the screen so that a vision impaired user can write documents, send email, instant mesage and browse the web. There is proprietary screen reading software available, but it is extremely expensive with the average cost being $1000 for one copy. 90% of the vision impaired users live in developing countries and 80% of vision impared people in the United States are unemployed, so that means the majority of vision impaired people don't have access to this proprietary software.

The alternative to this is the Orca screen reader, which is Free and open source software (See a demo here: ).
I want to further develop the Orca screen reader software so this would give access to all vision impaired people thoughout the world. I want to improve Orca's functionality with programs like LibreOffice and audio recording software. I also want to advance web performance with Firefox and Chrome. Another feature I plan on improving is the performance of Orca itself. The funding will go towards making the Orca screen reader the best screen reader available. I want to make sure that Orca can bring access to every tool offered to bring all of the advantages of technology to everyone in the world. 

We are going to have some awesome perks for this campaign. If you pledge at the $25,000 level, you will help 5 vision impaired students in Nepal receive a notebook with the Orca screen reader and give them a chance to succeed. If you pledge at $5,000, You will provide 1 student with a notebook and we will also take 5 USB drives with the Orca screen reader already installed on it and they will be able to use it from any computer. Whatever work the student does on the drive will be saved so when they use the drive on another computer all of their work will still be there. This way they can make any computer accessible as they carry their accessibility in their pocket. At the $1000 level you will be providing 10 USB drives for students in Nepal. With a pledge of $100 you will get an awesome t-shirt showing your support. A $50 pledge will help 1 student in the United States get a USB drive with the Orca screen reader pre-installed. $25 will get you a great sticker showing your support of this project. A pledge of $10 will get you an honorable mention on the website. If i don't reach my goal, I will still be able to make orca better, but to really get it to the point I want to it would mean that I have to meet my goal.

 Around the world, many vision impaired users can't go onto higher education or sometimes can't even graduate high school due to not having the right technology to make them successful, but Orca can make this difference. Not only will Orca bring access to computers but it will also give the opportunity for entrepreneurship and has potential for creating jobs for the vision impaired. They could start their own services with tech support for Orca. Orca will also give the opportunity for visually impaired people to persue data entry jobs or any other job that requires common computer tasks. The goal of this campaign is to bring access to a computer but to also provide employment opportunities for people with vision impairments throughout the world.

As a blind computer user, I know first hand what vision impaired users are missing when it comes to accessibility and computers. I wasn't born blind, but I was involved in a car accident at the age of 14 which led to the loss of my sight. Given that I live in the United States and have the advantages that come with living here, I understand what a difference technology can make in someone’s life. Without access to technology, I may not have been able to graduate from high school or university. I wouldn’t be able to do 80% of the things I do on a day to day basis if it weren’t for accessible technology. I want to give this advantage to the vision-impaired citizens of the world. You can make this a reality. Please, join me and pledge to this campaign.

Find This Campaign On
raised by 186 people in 2 months
45% funded
No time left
$15,000 USD goal
Flexible Funding This campaign has ended and will receive all funds raised.
Campaign Closed
This campaign ended on February 14, 2014
Select a Perk
  • $2USD

    You will get a shoutout on a podcast for your support!

    9 claimed
    Estimated delivery: March 2014
  • $10USD

    You will have an honorable mention on the website once the campaign is completed.

    51 claimed
  • $25USD
    Sticky Fan

    This pledge will get you an awesome sticker showing your support of bringing accessible computing to the vision impaired. Please, only addresses in the United States.

    32 claimed
  • $50USD

    This pledge will provide a USB drive with the Orca screen reader for someone in the United States.

    20 claimed
  • $100USD
    Super Fan

    This pledge will get you an awesome t-shirt showing your support of bringing technology to the vision impaired citizens of the world.

    20 claimed
  • $1,000USD
    Elite Super Fan

    This will provide 10 USB drives pre-loaded with orca for students in Nepal.

    0 out of 25 claimed
  • $5,000USD
    Ultimate Super Fans

    This pledge will provide 1 student in Nepal with a notebook computer as well as 5 USB drives for students in Nepal.

    0 out of 5 claimed
  • $25,000USD
    The Boss of Accessibility

    This pledge will provide 5 students with a notebook computer at a school for the blind in Nepal.

    0 out of 2 claimed
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