Group Theory: A fair-trade software company that trains and employs visually-impaired developers.

Help me create opportunity for one of the poorest groups of people in the world.

Adrián Rodriguez's page

Member

$2,935 by 25 people

Adrián Rodriguez

Total

$3,195

Group Theory

Team Members

Adrián

$2,935 / 25 donors

Tracy

$50 / 1 donor

Story

@Naperville



Meet Man, a student of mine in Thailand. He's completely blind. He is also brilliant. 



Summary

I'm the first blind engineer from El Salvador (Stanford '16). Last year, I wrote and taught Thailand's first computer science curriculum for blind students to prove that visually impaired people, one of the poorest minority populations in the world, can meaningfully contribute to society regardless of their origin. After a successful semester of teaching, I believe I've proven my point, and now I'm prepared to solve this issue directly by founding Group Theory, a software company that will utilize an accessible software development process to train and employ visually-impaired software developers in competitive, fair-trade work. I'll be returning to Thailand as an Engineer in Residence of the Father Ray Foundation to implement these technologies this summer, and I intend to ultimately offer employment to individuals all over the world. 


Your support will fund incorporation fees, legal fees, engineering supplies, my hygiene, and a mini-documentary exposing employment issues visually-impaired people face around the world.       



Full Story

I'm Adrian Rodriguez, and when I graduated from Stanford University in 2016 with an engineering degree in computer science, I became the first visually-impaired engineer from El Salvador. As triumphant as that title might sound, I believe it bears a great weight. You see, my journey exemplifies rare fortune; literally no one has had my luck-- not from where I started. Yet so many more people than me deserve my opportunities. 


Even though blindness is not an intellectual disability, visually-impaired people are among the most relegated minorities in the world. We offend society so much that many blind infants in developing countries live in orphanages, and 90% of all visually-impaired people in the world wrestle with poverty. Misappropriation of the blind is an undying humanitarian crisis, yet I believe its solution is a matter of imagination. 


Our global, sighted society fails to utilize over 250 million of its members because almost every occupation we've devised necessitates hand-eye coordination. Hence, even in America, more than 70% of working-age visually impaired people are not employed. 


Meanwhile, we live amidst an industrial revolution propelled by "pure thought stuff." Computer programming is not necessarily visual. In fact, its fabric is invisible.  So, last year, I left my job to design and teach Thailand's first computer science curriculum for the blind. I aimed to prove that blind people-- even those in emerging countries-- are intellectually vital to the world, and I believe my co-teacher and I succeeded in this endeavor as Proadpran P. Punyabukkana, a Computer Engineering professor at Thailand's leading university, observed and recommended our work to the Thai Ministry of Education. Moreover, the organization that originally sponsored my curriculum, the Father Ray Foundation, has offered to host me as an Engineer in Residence while I focus on my ultimate goal. 


While education is critical, my ultimate goal is to create and maintain software development jobs for the visually impaired myself, as I believe I can leverage my knowledge of the craft to fashion a process through which even blind, non-English-speaking persons can contribute to the field.


I presented this idea to Perkins Coie, US News Patent Law Firm of the year, and they have agreed to partner with me in patenting this invention. Hence I am in the midst of drafting these patents and founding a company called Group Theory. 


Group Theory will initially offer websites that are not only technically and aesthetically cutting edge, but also offer next-generation audio interfaces to flood the Internet with richly accessible content. What's more, these websites will be assembled by a work force of mostly visually-impaired employees. Through these means, I believe I can distribute opportunity to anywhere with an Internet connection. 


Please help me realize this vision by giving to this campaign. Your support will fund incorporation fees, legal fees, engineering supplies, and my hygiene, which will be critical as I commence this journey from one of the most humid places in the world. 



Prizes

$25: Digitally-handwritten thank-you letter from Adrian. 

$35: Thank-you video from Adrian

$50: Thank-you poem from Adrian. 

$100: Live video thank-you session with Adrian

$150: Tactile Rubik's Cube, originally designed for blind computer science students.

$500: Thank-you website. I'll make you a single-page website and fill it with thank-you content. 

$1000: Speaking Engagement. I'll come motivate, educate, and/or entertain a crowd of any size. Travel fees may apply. 

$2000: Beta Website Development Contract. Become one of our pioneering beta clients when we launch early next year. Group Theory will offer you its full website development service at launch, which means we'll make a website for you or your business right before your eyes. eCommerce not offered at this time. Hosting and Domain fees still apply.


Supporters

Adrián Rodriguez received a new donation from Jane Burton Bell

1 year ago

$25

We still talk about you a lot in Friday Harbor

Adrián Rodriguez received a new donation from Justin Hauter

2 years ago

$50

Adrián Rodriguez received a new donation from Justin Hauter

2 years ago

$100

Since we met way back at Mill Street, you've always been a positive force for change! As a friend, I've always admired how your intentions have manifested into projects that 99% of the world would never be able to dream up, let alone articulate and put into action. Best of luck with this endeavor and if you ever find yourself in need of comic relief, don't hesitate to reach out!

Adrián Rodriguez received a new donation from Donna and Channing Robertson

2 years ago

$250

We are thrilled with your goal and are wishing you great success.

Adrián Rodriguez received a new donation from Kathie and Loren DeShon

2 years ago

$100

We enjoyed reading about you and your good work in the San Juan Island paper

Adrián Rodriguez received a new donation from Gwen & Melinda

2 years ago

$25

We wish you great success... your goal is astounding .

Adrián Rodriguez received a new donation from Michele & Dan

2 years ago

$50

Good luck, Adrian! I became aware of your effort from my nephew John Moalli's Facebook post. You are an inspiration and I wish you all the best with your audacious endeavor!

Adrián Rodriguez received a new donation from John & Allison Moalli

2 years ago

$1,000

Adrian - You are one of the most inspirational people we have ever met, and we are proud to support your journey. Thank you for coming to Friday Harbor and meeting with Quincy and the educators at the High School; you truly moved a young man who has recently become blind and given him hope.

Blair made a donation

2 years ago

$50

Awesome project Adrian :) Expecting big things to come!!

Adrián Rodriguez received a new donation from Jill Bamber

2 years ago

$50

Adrian, Wow! I'm so impressed by your accomplishments! I was a Bear Team teacher when you attended JJHS. I am now a teacher of the blind and visually impaired as well as the mom of a physics fanatic who happens to be legally blind. Thanks for your work for him, all my students, and the community at large! Keep on making a difference!

Adrián Rodriguez received a new donation from Ms. Mickelson (now Mrs. Hernandez) :-)

2 years ago

$35

I remember a small shy/quieter Adrian in 6th grade and nothing stopped you. You persevered then and you continue to persevere. I remember accommodating him you with a magnifying glass so you could hand and machine see. I remember that smile Adrian! I also remember you gaining such wisdom at such a young age! You’ve accomplished so much in your young life. I’m incredibly proud to have assisted you in your journey then and now.

Adrián Rodriguez received a new donation from Coach

2 years ago

$250

Good luck dude.

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