As a tech entrepreneur and a parent to a child with special needs, I have always wished to build her something that makes her life better.
As a tech entrepreneur and a parent to a child with special needs, I have always wished to build her something that makes her life better. Yet my knowledge and resources didn’t level up to her challenges. Few months ago, Vodafone Egypt approached our team at ES with an idea to build an app for the visually impaired. Walking in our first meeting, I had no expectations, no hopes whatsoever. After all, the Egyptian Tech industry hasn’t exerted the serious effort people with special needs deserve. But something at the door changed our minds, we were greeted by a Vodafone team member who is funny, young, smart, and blind, Abdel Ghany! The application was his idea.
Presenting his concept, Abdel Ghany was full of life, his excitement and happiness could only originate from a genuine passion to build something that helps a lot of people, himself included, perform day-to-day activities better.
The application, “E3rafli” (an Arabic word for “Know for me”), aims to help the visually-impaired and blind identify basic objects using their mobile phones. From identifying currency bills, to recognizing colors, to reading taxi meters & supermarket registers & charging prepaid scratch cards. In that meeting we were introduced to facts and figures about how many people in Egypt actually suffer from visual impairment and loss of sight, Abdel Ghany made his case on how technology can make a substantial difference even to the most basic of livelihood functions.
Right then and there, it occurred to me. Even with our humble resources and knowledge, we can still make it happen. We are able to give those in need a tool that makes their lives a bit easier.
After months of mutual sessions, studying and understanding Accessibility, and numerous tests and beta versions, we had a product we can showcase and be proud of.
“E3rafli” was launched by Vodafone at the Cairo ICT conference. As the app started reading out loud simple things such as currency bill values and colors of objects, we saw smiles on the faces of users. Our team witnessed firsthand how Technology makes up for what many of us take for granted in our daily lives. I was finally part of the solution, and this is just the beginning.
I can only be grateful for Vodafone Egypt for giving us the opportunity to work on such a great project that we can be proud of, and for Abdel Ghany, whose insight brought a light of hope to our eyes.