Young women with disabilities are amongst the most vulnerable populations in Colombia, they have very little opportunities for development, often feel isolated, and have low self-esteem. With little schooling and limited options for economic advancement it is fundamental for them to find innovative ways to engage with their community and improve their lives.
In our latest session we trained a group of young women with hearing disabilities in basic digital skills and entrepreneurial essentials, such as basic accounting and administration concepts, in order to turn their business ideas into blooming realities that will allow them to have a better future.
During these training sessions we not only taught them how to use technology, but more importantly how to harness its power to transform their lives. Over the course of 2 months we empowered them with the knowledge and tools to build up their confidence and self-esteem, to create their own business and ultimately achieve economic independence. Thanks to your help and the support of our allies we created a safe and inclusive space for these young women to learn new skills and develop their talents.
Often women with hearing disabilities feel isolated from the world, and technology provides a way to feel included and engaged. Such was the case of Paula a vivacious and energetic nineteen-year old with hearing disability that attended the course.
Paula expressed “ I often feel bored and have nothing to do that will make me feel useful and included, and this training not only gave me the opportunity to interact with other young women with dissabilities and learn how to use a computer to communicate with the world, it also showed me that I can do anything I set my mind to. Sometimes the readings were difficult but we a little determination I completed them and that made me feel very proud”
Her aunt and caretaker said “I noticed a great improvement in Paula’s mood and confidence since the training session; she wants to create a resume and get a job. She is motivated, and has the opportunity to experience something that can help her grow, which is rare for her”
Your donations are vital for continuing to provide oportunities for young people with disabilities like Paula, please spread the word and helps us create inclusive and dynamic ways to better their lives!
Dora is 25, she lives in the Villa Hermosa, one of the biggest slums in the mountains of Medellín, Colombia. Dora has a visual dissability and suffers from epilepsy, which has prevented her from studying and getting a good job. For a few year now, she has being receiving trainning and counseling at a local NGO Fundación Amigos con Calor Humano, and we met her there when we took our digital education trainning to the NGO.
Dora is a fighter, and her dissabilities have never stop her, as she says herself " I always find a way not seeing has never stop me I know I can do anything if I work hard enough, right now I am selling clothes door to door with a catalogue, and I can pay for my food, clothes and have money to take the bus to go to counceling and keep going to the workshops and trainning they have "
She is a dreamer and hardworker, right know she is taking a course in entrepenurship and her dream is to open a hotel for people with dissabilities, about her dream she says "it has not been easy, I have sent proposal to organizations that support small business and banks and they had all said no, but I persisit someone somewhere will believe my idea is great ".
Dora loves to study and learn, that why she is always the first to sign up when the NGO she get her counceling from offers new courses, when she heard abou the technology course MAKAIA was providing for people with dissabilities, thanks to the resources from our Global Giving project, she signed up imediately.
She told us she had attended other courses on the basic use of computers before, but MAKAIA's has been the only one that had truly empower her to use technology to make her dream a reality, on her experience she said "Our teacher Sofía, was incredible she also has a dissability and has come to previous workshops as a student, if she knows so much, maybe one day I can be a teacher too and help others, one of my favorite parts of the trainning was being able to help others that had never used a computer before, since I had a little trainning I became like her teaching assistant!"
"The course was great" Dora said "it was very clear and explained everything step by step, and is it not only about using a computer but using that knowledge and apply it in other courses like the one I am doing now on how to create a business, it was easier to see the ideas more clearly in other lessons and do our homework, I still see my teacher Sofía from time to time, and we encourage others from the group we see around to review" Dora also shared that the course allowed her to learn how to use the internet in the specially adapted computers the NGO has. The knowledge you help us give TO Dora and her friends allow them not only she to find new opportunities, but to feel useful and empowered.
Dora uses a magnifying glass to use computers and mobile phone but this never stops her from using technology to the fullest, she told us since she attended the course she has learn how to use Facebook to talk to her friends, and twitter to get the news, she has even began looking at potos on Instagram, she says she is not yet brave enough to post lost of things but she loves how tecnology has made her life better, allow her to dream big and keep in touch with family and friends.
Your support has been invaluable to make stories like Dora's a reality everyday, people like her are our inspiration and their bravery and streght motivate us to continue giving trainning programs so more and more people can get better oportunities, create businesses and improve their livelyhood. And more importantly be empowered and feel unstoppable.
Finding true leaders is not an easy, but since the first time Andrés came to our organization we knew we had a shining star in our hands.
Andrés is a bright young man with a hearing disability and an indomitable spirit. Andrés was part of a local government program called Jóvenes con Futuro (Youth with future), a strategy that gave education and a living stipends to deserving vulnerable youth in Medellín, Colombia. He did his technical studies in multimedia development achieving high grades, when the time came to do his internship before graduation, the local government called our organization to see if we had any project in which he could be involved, since we had long worked with ICT initiatives, we were delighted to welcome him into our team.
He help designed, along with other young leaders, a multimedia aid for ICT education of people with hearing disabilities. During his work he showed such promise and enthusiasm we invited to be a permanent part of our national digital literacy project, as facilitator and teacher for other young people with auditory disabilities like him. Andrés was vital in designing and re-designing the methodologies we use in our ICT 30 hours course for youth with disabilities and truly understandings the need of this vulnerable population in our city.
Having Andrés in our team has changed the way we look at disability in our organization. Andrés became our teacher, training us in Colombian sign language, enriching communication for all. He was also instrumental in building a micro-website for other people with disabilities to learn technology related terms in Colombian sign language.
He is not only a true leader and teacher, but and inspiration to everyone around him.With your help Andrés can teach many more young people with disabilities like him, to use technology to change and improve their lives. ICT literacy not only allow young people with hearing disabilities to be more connected to the world around them, but it also improves their self-worth and their economic and social possibilities for the future.
Alejandra is a warm and intelligent 21 year old young woman with a hearing dissability. We first met Alejandra when she came to Makaia as a multimedia technician intern. Alongside other young tecnological leaders, Alejandra created a multimedia aid specifically designed for people with hearing dissabilites, to help them learn the basic parts of a computer and basic actions to use it. From that moment on, we witness how she took on every challenge with tenacity and grace, and she did everything in her power to fulfill herevery objective.
We have worked with her in various occasions since, and she is always a leader and above all, a great teacher, she is always striving to share all her knowledge with other young people with hearing dissabilities, specially information related to technology as key to generate inclusion.
Two years ago Alejandra permanently joined our team as facilitator of ICT apropiation processes for people with hearing disabilities. This is specially rewarding for us, because we have come to realize that peers and facilitators with disabilities themselves are the ideal teachers for other youth with dissabilities, to carry messages of development and inclusion.
With your help Alejandra will be able to teach more young people with dissabilities, to foster their inner strengh, independence and self worth and connect them with the world to build a better economic and socilal future for themselves.
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