Since the onset of the pandemic, so much of our experience has been lived behind the mobile screen in our hands or the keyboard at our desks — from ordering groceries online to scheduling a medical appointment to making online banking transactions.
However, in a country where as many as 30 million of us are blind or have low vision, an issue that negatively affects millions of people each day in the United States continues to be ignored.
While the internet has connected us all in recent years, it has also put up significant barriers for those of us who are blind or have low vision — many of whom use assistive technology to access websites and apps.
When a website or app is not accessible, people with disabilities lose their independence, privacy and equality — especially as we age.
For example, I’ve just returned from our annual Leadership Conference & Helen Keller Achievement Awards in Arlington, Virginia, where I joined other leaders and collaborators as we discussed innovative ways to create true digital inclusion and a world with no limits for those who are blind or have low vision.
During the conference, we held a panel to discuss the results of our recent Barriers to Digital Inclusion study. Did you know that 86% of participants had difficulty accessing websites for job searches and 78% had difficulty accessing related apps?
However, thanks to your support, the American Foundation for the Blind remains an industry leader in bringing digital inclusion and usability to the forefront.
Together, we can ensure that those who are blind or have low vision can reach the opportunities and resources necessary to advance in work and life.
I’m specifically thinking of Talent Lab, a program that offers internships and apprenticeships for individuals who are blind or have low vision, preparing them for careers by creating accessible and inclusive digital products. In the words of Ramya Karthikeyan, a recent intern in the program:
“The Talent Lab has been a wonderful venture in growing a new generation of accessibility-conscious designers, developers and engineers even before they join the workforce. The program not only helped me understand the meaning and reason behind the need for a digitally accessible world but also taught me the foundational skills to help create one.”
As a supporter of The American Foundation for the Blind, you’ll agree digital inclusion is the only way forward. Will you stand alongside me by making a gift to create a world with no limits, where those who are blind, or experience low vision, can have the opportunities and resources necessary to advance in work and life?
Remember, if you donate today, every dollar you give will be matched, dollar for dollar, up to $50,000, by our friends at the Winston Foundation.
There is still much work to be done to overcome the systemic challenges faced by those who are blind, or have low vision, as we continue to ensure equal representation.
Together we can change the way the world sees blindness, with programs focusing on:
- Research: Reviewing, curating, and conducting research to identify the most pressing needs of those who are blind or have low vision and seeking to understand the most impactful way to address them.
- Advocacy: Leveraging research and relationships among networks and coalitions to systematically change legislation, public policy, and institutional practices.
- Workforce inclusion and development: Changing the understanding of employers and job seekers who are blind or have low vision and the value they bring to the workforce.
- Innovation: Creating a more accessible, inclusive digital world by reducing the skills gap and implementing best practices in accessibility and inclusive design.
When it comes to significantly improving the lives of people who are blind or have low vision, each of us is responsible for ensuring every ounce of our energy yields the greatest momentum for full and equal inclusion in society.
Because of you, the road ahead for those who are blind, or have low vision, remains bright. Please consider a generous gift today.
President & CEO