A recent survey of Facebook users in 50 countries found that more than 30 percent of them experienced difficulty seeing, hearing, speaking, organizing thoughts, walking or grasping with their hands.
On that note, the social network is marking Global Accessibility Awareness Day Thursday by teaming up with Google, Microsoft, Adobe and Oath to create an accessibility program as part of the Teach Access initiative.
The program, Teach Access Study Away: Silicon Valley, will take place May 28 through June 1, and students, faculty from partner universities and industry partners will explore the field of accessibility and work together to solve an accessibility challenge.
Facebook also shared the following success stories of people with disabilities using the social network “in life-changing ways”:
- Tracy Boyd, a blind mother of four children, had only ever met one other blind mother. Feeling alone in her challenges, she turned to Facebook and began Mommies With Guides. The group has grown into a collective of more than 1,700 blind mothers supporting one another daily and, most important, as Boyd says, “reminding one another that you can have babies and be a very active, present parent being blind.”
- Kathleen Myers was 44 when she suddenly lost all of her hearing. Feeling isolated, she turned to Facebook. It became her “mainline to the outside world,” connecting her again with her friends and family. She found the group Cochlear Town USA, which helped inspire her to get a cochlear implant. Today, with her implant, Myers has a normal range of hearing and serves as a guide in the group to others going through similar experiences.
- Bradford and Bryan Manning are the founders of clothing line Two Blind Brothers, and they use Facebook to support their company. This GAAD marks the second birthday of the company, which is on a mission to cure blindness by donating 100 percent of its proceeds to pre-clinical research for retinal eye disease. This month, the company is announcing a milestone of over $200,000 in donations.