Last year, we started the Holman Prize for Blind Ambition, a set of annual awards of up to $25,000 each for legally blind individuals with big ideas. In our second year, we received video applications from all over the world – including nine more countries we hadn’t heard from last year – all fascinating and compelling in their own rite. The Holman Team narrowed the pool to 42 semifinalists, all of whom submitted detailed proposals mapping out their dream projects.
This week, we’re proud to announce our elite group of fourteen finalists, including a “People’s Choice” finalist who we honor for receiving the highest number of YouTube ‘likes’ for his ambitious idea. These finalists will all be in the running to make their ambitions a reality when our Holman Committee meets in San Francisco this June.
The fourteen finalists are as diverse and dynamic a group as you could imagine, including those who want to give back to their communities, those who seek to push the boundaries of science and tech, and those with infectious enthusiasm for a particular or unexpected craft.
Over the next month, we hope you’ll sound off on which Holman Prize candidate you want to see take their ambitions on the road. Feel free to tag Holman Prize on Twitter, Instagram and head to the LightHouse’s Facebook page for more updates.
Meet our 2018 finalists below:
Bountiful, Utah, USA
Becky, a marathon runner and cyclist, would use the Holman Prize to implement a series of empowerment retreats for blind and visually-impaired women.
Zeljko, a radio producer and host, would use the Holman Prize to create a podcast “for and about blind people living all over the world.”
Boulder, Colorado, USA
Luanne, a seasoned long-distance runner, would use the Holman Prize to educate visually-impaired communities around the world about the joys and logistics of guided running.
Sacramento, California, USA
Stacy, who works in the disability employment field, would use the Holman Prize to launch an accessible travel forum similar to Yelp or TripAdvisor, geared specifically towards helping blind users optimize their trips around the world.
Castle Rock, Colorado, USA
Leona, an actor and writer, would use the Holman Prize to expand her magazine “Aromatica Poetica,” which is “dedicated to the arts and sciences” of smell. Furthermore, she would use the prize money to fund her own prize, geared in part towards visually-impaired writers.
Kirtland, New Mexico, USA
Having recently developed a braille code for the Navajo language, Carol would use the Holman Prize to launch a summer program to educate and share the code across the Navajo Nation. Her proposal also includes tactile interpretation of landscapes and critical features of the nation’s geography.
Madison, Wisconsin, USA
Andrew, a biologist and geneticist, would use the Holman Prize to facilitate a conference for blind scientists and students from across the globe, called “Sciencing While Blind,” where participants could network and exchange tips and tools.
Washington, DC, USA
Conchita, who is currently pursuing a doctorate degree in Special Education, would use the Holman Prize to create a workshop in her native Mexico for professionals in the blindness field, and blind people of all ages.
Matlock, Derbyshire, UK
Georgina, who says she was “born a crafter,” would use the Holman Prize to launch a social enterprise called Hook and Eye Crafts, geared toward teaching blind and visually impaired people the joys of knitting, crochet and cross-stitch.
Banjul, Serrekunda, Gambia
Alieu, the founder of the blindness advocacy organization Start Now, would use the Holman Prize to provide various skills, including computer literacy, cane travel and Braille, to blind and low-vision participants in rural Gambia.
*People’s Choice Finalist*
Hyderabad, Telangana, India
Sandeep, who has developed a tool called Eye Renk, which allows the visually impaired to easily differentiate between various ocular medications, would use the Holman Prize to build a lab for further development of Eye Rank and other technologies for the visually impaired.
Rift Valley Province, Kenya
Kiplangat would use the Holman Prize to develop a program to enable his fellow blind and low-vision Kenyans to become dairy farmers and entrepreneurs.
Secunderabad, Telangana, India
Aishwarya, a filmmaker and rehabilitation counselor, would use the Holman Prize to create a training center for the blind and low-vision community to study elements of filmmaking like script writing, film editing, sound mixing, production and more.
Red, an extreme sports enthusiast, would use the Holman Prize to undertake an extreme sports triathlon to conquer Am Buachaille, one of the most remote rock pinnacles at the Northwest tip of the United Kingdom.
Learn more about the Holman Prize for Blind Ambition at www.holmanprize.org.