As a nonprofit tech company, Benetech develops and deploys open source software to meet some of the world's most pressing social needs. From Bookshare to Martus, our software impacts countless lives.
In our Literacy program, we operate Bookshare – the largest library of accessible e-books for people with print disabilities (e.g., blind, dyslexic, cerebral palsy). Via an award from the U.S. Department of Education, we provide Bookshare membership for free to over 200,000 students in the U.S. Membership in the U.S. is not limited to students and we have members all around the world thanks to partnerships with organizations in countries, such as India, Kenya and Qatar.
To address the challenge of making images in educational books and textbooks accessible, Benetech is currently developing Poet - an open source web application for managing volunteer and crowdsourced creation of image descriptions. With Poet a volunteer can upload a book in the accessible DAISY format, quickly scan and navigate to all the images in the book and add images descriptions which educate the vision impaired reader.
In our Human Rights Program, we have developed Martus, an open source software solution been used to securely store, organize and protect over 200K "bulletins" of witness testimonies and other evidence of human rights abuses. These documents have formed a base of evidence used in advocacy efforts and trials in Burma, Colombia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Guatemala, and Iraq.
Most of our development team is based in Palo Alto, CA, although we do have some developers working remotely. Our developer communities are managed by our lead developers for each project.
We use Agile development across our software projects, which enables us to more easily bring volunteers on board. Smaller tasks for volunteers with less availability include bug fixes, documentation, refactoring, and testing; volunteers contributors with open availability and more specific domain or programming experience can often work on features and roadmap items.