MVP Kenny Johar was recently awarded the Microsoft MVP Award, for his contributions towards Internet Explorer. He has carved out a successful IT career by helping to make technology, more accessible to Australia’s visually impaired. News of his Award, was also picked up by The Australian newspaper and you can read an excerpt of the interview below.
Kenny was diagnosed with problems to his eyesight during the final years of high school, and had intended to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a doctor. The news that he had retinitis pigmentosa, a degenerative sight condition, came as a crushing blow.
“It’s like a domino effect,” he said. “When I started there were lots of obstacles for people with vision impairment to get into the IT industry, and I take a huge sense of achievement from the fact I am opening a floodgate for others to follow”.
“I had strong aspirations to be a neurologist,” he recalled. “I was very interested in the human brain, and then I learned that no matter how hard I worked I was never going to be able to get there, so I had to change the direction of my career”.
Everything changed when he got a laptop computer with a screen reader that allowed the information in programs and on web pages to be read aloud to him.
“Suddenly the world opened up again for me,” he said. “To have something come into my life and give me such a strong ray of hope for the future made me realise how powerful a tool technology was”.
Kenny is now helping to roll out a new software package that will assist vision-impaired people to go online. He remains optimistic that the IT industry will offer more opportunities to blind people. “It’s not about a disability, it’s about your attitude, and I think for people who come after me it’s not going to be a big deal; it won’t be a taboo anymore”.
You can read Kenny’s full interview with The Australian here.