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A Summer Recap from Our 2021 Holman Prizewinners

Our 2021 Holman Prizewinners, Maud Rowell, Aaron Cannon and Robert Malunda have all been busily working through their Holman Prize year. Here’s an update on what they’ve been up to this summer.

Maud Rowell

Photo caption: Maud Rowell standing near the water on Shiraishi Island, wearing a long blue dress

Maud Rowell is in Japan, traveling across the country independently, including visits to rural and remote areas, solely by foot and public transportation. She writes:

“After arriving in Japan at the start of June in an empty airport, I made my way to the northernmost island to begin my journey. There, I spent ten days living in a ramen shop in an Ainu (who are indigenous people of northern Japan) village, saw pools of Sulphur and rising smoke in Hell Valley, walked among fields of multicolored flowers, and climbed a mountain to see the sun set and the moon rise from the top. 

“Next, I began moving south, enjoying Shinto festivals, stunning coastal walks, fields of free horses, mountaintop temples, rainbows, jellyfish, and brilliant green crater lakes, all in the region north of Tokyo. I continued south, spending a week on a remote island in the Inland Sea with fewer than 400 inhabitants and a single small grocery store. On this island, I explored ancient shrines and pilgrimage routes in the mountains, went kayaking, and saw spectacular sunsets every single night. 

“I am now in Hiroshima prefecture, having spent a few days in the city visiting the Atomic Bomb Dome, Hiroshima Castle, and the famous gardens Shukkei-en. I’m spending time on the island of Miyajima, climbing more mountains, wandering among deer, and painting the shrine that floats on top of the water when the tide comes in. 

I’ve been lucky in the way of kind people, great food, and many wonderful and interesting things that I’m excited to try to bring to life with the book and the photographs I’m taking!”

Want to follow Maud’s journey, visit her Instagram account, @where.birds.wont.go.

Aaron Cannon

Aaeon Cannon

Photo caption: A portrait of Aaron Cannon

Aaron created Lower Dots, which shows how blind people can learn to do math accessibly and will soon be hosted on a website. Here’s what he’s been up to this summer:

“On Thursday, July 7, I had the opportunity to address the Science and Engineering Division of the National Federation of the Blind at their convention in New Orleans, Louisiana. This opportunity seemed particularly appropriate for this project, as there were a couple other presentations which dealt with math education. One which was particularly notable for me was a presentation on a new Nemeth Code curriculum and a free online Nemeth symbol reference library. I have no doubt that the symbol reference site in particular will be invaluable to both me, and Lower Dots users. 

“In my presentation, I talked about my guiding principles for the project, such as that it be free forever, both in terms of cost and in terms of licensing (Creative Commons). Another principle that I discussed was that the site needs to serve the lowest common denominator, i.e. people with no braille display, people with only a free screen reader, and people on very low bandwidth connections. In addition, I took the opportunity to play a brief demo of the lesson page, which is arguably the true heart of the website.”

Robert Malunda

Photo caption: Robert Malunda trains students on keyboards in a library in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe

Robert is providing Access Technology, Orientation & Mobility and social skills training to blind Zimbabweans in rural locations through his organization Gateway to Elation. He writes:

In July and August, I reached seven students face-to-face and twenty online, mostly in the city of Bulawayo. I also increased online lessons in orientation & mobility.

“At Gateway to Elation, learning online involves experimenting on apps. In July, I focused on Zoom and Clubhouse. Due to COVID-19 regulations events like church services, schools and other activities are now happening online on places like Clubhouse and Zoom, so blind people do not have to be left out as they seek access to information and knowledge.”

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