Visually impaired kids show off their coding skills at Hackathon event in Bangalore

Updated: 22 January, 2018 16:21 IST | Gaurav Sarkar | Mumbai

Twenty-four visually impaired from across the country showed off their coding and programming skills at IIT Bangalore's Hackathon event

The team of city coders at the Hackathon event
The team of city coders at the Hackathon event

Fresh out of college, 26-year-old Mumbaikar, Aditi S, remembers struggling to find herself a job in the coding and programming industry because she was visually impaired. This weekend, Aditi proved why her disability should not be coming in the way of her dreams.

Over the weekend, around 24 visually impaired coders and programmers converged at the IIT Bangalore from different parts of the country to showcase their prodigious coding skills at the Hackathon event.

All-inclusive hackathon
Organised by India STEM (I-STEM) Foundation, a not-for-profit science and technology organisation, in collaboration with the Xavier's Resource Centre for the Visually Challenged (XRCVC), the two-day-long event saw visually impaired developers, industry professionals and programmers come together to work on challenging problems.

The aim of the event was to sensitise engineers and IT companies about the efficiency of people with blindness and low vision by getting them to work together on a project. A total of 12 teams comprising five members participated in the Hackathon with each team consisting of at least two people with blindness and low vision. The groups were asked to work on projects of their choice with the aim that the end product was accessible to people with disabilities.

The team of coders from Mumbai seen at the two-day long Hackathon. A total of 12 teams participated in the event
The team of coders from Mumbai seen at the two-day long Hackathon. A total of 12 teams participated in the event

'Need more opportunities'
Aditi S, 26, one of the two coders on the Mumbai team, has been coding for the past 4.5 years and is a topper from the University of Mumbai. "Despite this, I was not allowed to sit for any of the campus placements as I am visually impaired," she said.

"When it comes to jobs such as coding and programming, there are very few opportunities for us. I think it's more to do with awareness. Today, when I see people coming from big companies and participating in an inclusive hackathon, I feel optimistic about the fact that what happened with me might not happen with someone else with low vision."

According to Aditi, visually impaired employees have to work harder to prove their value when compared with people without disabilities. "The main challenge is that people are not ready to give us an opportunity, and when they do, we need to prove our worth."

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First Published: 22 January, 2018 16:17 IST

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