An Indian woman in a wheelchair sits at a computer desk

Microsoft's AI for Accessibility

Microsoft's AI for Accessibility programme uses artificial intelligence (AI) to amplify human capability for more than one billion people with a disability. Our project represents a significant step in how we support people with disabilities into employment.

What is Microsoft's AI for Accessibility programme?

Successful applicants are awarded grants in areas that are vital for building a sustainable future for disabled people. The grant focusses on the following areas:

  • Employment: AI can be used to help people develop more advanced skills in the workplace.
  • Daily life: Building modern solutions for people with disabilities by making software and devices smarter and more relevant.
  • Communication and connection: Technology that creates new possibilities regardless of how a person listens, speaks or writes.

Why are we doing an AI project?

Stigma and discrimination often mean people with disabilities around the world are forced into extreme poverty, or low-paid and low-skilled roles. We want to change this.

For over a decade, we've delivered life-changing projects in Africa and Asia which has resulted in:

  • Around 38,000 people have gained waged or self-employment.
  • 83,000 people are receiving skills development support.

This project has the potential to support thousands more people with disabilities in gaining employment.

Working with Objectivity, a Microsoft partner, this grant will provide us with a sophisticated digital platform that will accelerate our employment work supporting people with disabilities in India.

What will the AI platform do?

The aims of the platform will be to:

  • Provide a detailed profile of a candidate's skills beyond those gained in employment or training.
  • Help identify interests and career goals in a way that is accessible and intuitive.
  • Information gathered will reveal confidence issues that could be holding candidate's back from applying for roles or pursuing careers.
  • Where an individual's interests go beyond current skills, support will also be available to develop these.

Why is this happening in India?

This project will pilot in India. It has the potential to support hundreds of thousands of people with disabilities access employment globally. As it evolves, we will roll it out in different nations and with other partners.

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