Last year, Google.org announced their Google Impact Challenge: Disabilities competition, and over 1,000 nonprofits from 88 countries submitted designs for open source technology that could improve the lives of disabled people around the world. This week, Google.org announced the 29 winners, to whom they have dished out a cool $20 million.
An estimated one billion people around the world have disabilities, and while life is rarely easy for any of them, it’s even more difficult for those who live in developing countries and don’t have as much access to technological innovations. Many of the nonprofits that received grants from Google.org focus on people in these countries, such as UCP Wheels for Humanity, which will use their $999,995 grant to gather data on worldwide wheelchair performance and help governments and donors make more informed decisions on how to help disabled people.
Google.org Principal Brigitte Hoyer Gosselink said, “One in three people with a disability lives in poverty. In places like the United States, 50 to 70 percent of people with disabilities are unemployed; in developing countries that number increases to 80 to 90 percent. And only 10 percent of people with disabilities in developing countries have access to the assistive devices they need.”
The average Google.org grant amount was $750,000, and six nonprofits out of the 29 received over $1 million dollars. Other projects included a device to convert regular wheelchairs to power wheelchairs, wheelchairs designed for better posture, and smart glasses.
One recipient is the Dan Marino Foundation, which was given $700,000 to help people on the autism spectrum, about 90 percent of whom are unemployed. The foundation has developed “an interactive solution” to simulate a job interview environment and provide feedback on everything from body language to eye contact.
Via The Verge