Advancing computing education globally

Oracle Academy Supports Blind and Visually Impaired Developers at Inclusive STEM Hackathon 2019

Damian Haas
Regional Director - JAPAC

Oracle Academy proudly sponsored and partnered with VisionAid at the Inclusive STEM Hackathon 2019 in Bangalore, India. The hackathon is a 24-hour event where blind and visually impaired developers, industry professionals, and computer science students come together to work on exciting and challenging problems. The aim of the hackathon is to sensitize engineers from IT companies and change the wider mindset on the functioning and efficiency of persons with blindness and low vision. Working together on the project also provides the participants with disabilities an opportunity to learn from experienced IT professionals.

The event brought together nearly 75 blind and sighted participants from across the country for the coding event, which included several other activities such as panel discussions and breakout sessions for interaction between participants and representatives from universities and corporationsThe hackathon was divided into two tracks, including a mentorship track for students who were new to the field paired with corporate professionals who were willing to mentor these students.

As part of supporting the hackathon, Oracle offered a keynote speaker, Divya Singh, Senior Director of Application Program Management. Her address touched on Oracle welcoming talented employees with disabilities as a diverse and inclusive organization. She spoke about job opportunities in the IT industry, and Oracle specifically, for visually impaired students looking for a career in IT, and the ways to prepare for it. She also shared her experience of working with visually impaired students as a volunteer teacher for blind schools and talked about several real-life inspirational role models who had been able to overcome disability and adverse circumstances and rise to great heights. She urged and inspired the participants to reach high. We were pleased she took time out of her schedule to represent Oracle and inspire these students. 

VisionAid is a non-profit organization providing rehabilitation services in underserved areas in India. We at Oracle Academy are pleased to partner with them to increase diversity in computing throughout the country.

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