Fernando Botelho

Ashoka Fellow
Curitiba, PR, Brazil
Fellow Since 2012


This profile was prepared when Fernando Botelho was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2012.
The New Idea
Rooted in his own experiences as a blind person, Fernando created a new technology and strategy for implementation to overcome widespread exclusion from opportunities to learn and work faced by the visually impaired. F123 System is a low-cost technology that enables any personal computer to become totally accessible with the simple installation of an external USB or “pen” drive.

Critical to the F123 System is its plethora of uses and the ease with which users can customize the software. Apart from common software applications, the system possesses an electronic reader and screen magnifier, educational materials for teachers, and training instructions for users. It costs only 2 to 15 percent of the price of a standard e-reader for the entire apparatus. Fernando is now designing specialized content to improve the quality of life of visually impaired individuals who already use the system. Open source coding also ensures that the technology remains affordable, versatile, financially self-sufficient, and scalable.

Fernando designed a complete strategy to distribute and implement the F123 System. To directly leverage possible system improvement, he has established pilots with diverse partners and created a network of third-party vendors that represent, distribute and advertise the F123 in numerous countries. He has also entered into negotiations to spread the tool more systematically throughout Brazil and the world; thereby improving the lives of millions of people who are visually handicapped.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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