In fourth grade, due to a learning disability, Carson Maxson read at a first-grade level. His self-esteem was low and he hated reading. Not being able to keep pace with his peers, each new assignment brought him anxiety and a sense of failure.
But in sixth grade, Carson’s learning journey changed. His English teacher signed Carson up for Benetech’s Bookshare library and encouraged him to experiment with reading accessible ebooks on an iPad, using Benetech’s Read2Go ebook reader app.
The combination of the iPad with Bookshare accessible books and Read2Go has made a tremendous difference in Carson’s life. “When I hear Carson talk with friends about the books he’s read, his voice swells with pride and so does my heart,” says his teacher. “In twenty years of teaching, I’ve never found an educational resource that has made such a profound difference for students who attend special education classes. It’s difficult for teachers to observe their students feeling failure and to hear their families’ desperate requests for the right support solutions.” Now in eighth grade, Carson’s grades and reading skills have improved in all curricular areas—and so has his self-esteem.
Carson’s life changing encounter with accessible books is just one example of how Benetech uses technology to create positive social good. Our tools change the ways in which people with disabilities can effectively read; empower frontline human rights defenders to safely document abuse; and encourage environmental practitioners to succeed in their efforts to protect species and ecosystems.
As a nonprofit, we know it’s necessary for us to explore new ways in which targeted software tools could address unmet social needs. Our work and reach are made possible through the generous support of people like you; and thanks to matching from the Skoll Foundation, your gift will have far more impact!
Here are some examples of what we can accomplish with your contribution:
- Empower more individuals with disabilities to have equal opportunity to succeed in school, employment, and society;
- Embolden defenders of human rights in their fight against injustice and abuse;
- Match highly skilled tech volunteers with humanitarian organizations to deliver better services around the world;
- Strengthen Latin American clean water organizations to more effectively deliver clean drinking water to communities in need.
Join us, and together we can empower disadvantaged people to improve their lives and create lasting change!
Benetech is a Silicon Valley nonprofit technology company that develops software tools and services to address pressing social needs. Each of its program areas—Global Literacy, Human Rights, the Environment, and Benetech Labs—offers great social impact with funds received. Social entrepreneur and MacArthur Fellow Jim Fruchterman created Benetech in 2000, and leads the organization as its CEO. For more information, please visit Benetech.org.
Following is a list of image descriptions for the photos and video accompanying our fundraiser:
- A Bookshare student member reading an ebook on his iPad.
- Hands touching a tactile grahic booklet.
- A blind man listening to digital content on a mobile device.
- A group of people posing to the camera, cheering and raising their hands up.
- A humanitarian fieldworker interviewing three women in a rural area.
- Digital security training to members of a human rights organization in Haiti.
- Posters displaying a map of prison locations in Burma and photos from the 1988 crackdown by the military junta.
- A group of software professionals working together at laptops.
- A water tower in a rural community in Latin America.
These photos are followed by a short video introducing Benetech's social impact work.