How tech helped this legally blind woman become a coder

Eye Conditions
August 16, 2019

Like most coders, 22 year-old Rahma Ali is fluent in 13 programming languages. Unlike most coders, Rahma was born with cataracts and has lived at odds with her low vision. She constantly battled nausea and eye strain when coding with screen magnifiers. The path to improving her programming skills suddenly became clear when she first tried and did a review of eSight in 2017. 

“My world completely changed because I got to see the definition of how everything looks,” Rahma said of her experience. 

Tech Community Stepped Up

Inspired by her story, Rahma’s local technology community pitched in to present Rahma with her own eSight.  Now armed with eSight’s computer connectivity features, Rahma was coding with an ease and efficiency she’d never known before. 

“I honestly thought to myself ‘the sky’s the limit!’” Rahma exclaimed. “All those coding projects that would take months to develop because of my eye strain. Now I can take them on full force and become better.”

From Hamilton (Ontario) to Harvard

Rahma decided to fulfill a life-long dream by applying to Hack Harvard 2018. The multi-day “hackathon” sees teams of programmers working together to solve problems. 

“They said that I got in. And I was so ecstatic!”

The three day and three night hackathon featured little sleep, tens of thousands of lines of code, and the making of many like-minded international friends. 

“While I was coding with the other developers, I said to myself ‘wait a minute, I’m actually doing this without feeling that I’m not confident enough,’” Rahma reflected.

The Future Seems Bright

She even had representatives from Facebook and Microsoft approach her after Hack Harvard. She was able to share her vision of the future with those representatives.

“I want to create an inclusive future through education, advocacy, and community building to make accessibility and technology inclusive for all.”

If you liked Rahma’s story, keep reading about Jesse Johnson‘s review of eSight