Featured Storyteller

CAMEROON: Through Technology, I’m Transforming the Disability Community

Veronica Ngum Ndi
Posted April 21, 2021 from Cameroon

As a woman with a disability, Veronica Ngum Ndi shares how technology has expanded her world and made her passionate about educating others.

“I hope that by helping women and girls, especially those with disabilities, fully take advantage of digital tools, they will also be empowered to bring about a new world powered by women.

Throughout my life, I have faced stigma due to my disability. Technology has given me opportunities I never believed I would access in my lifetime just by one click.

My voice is heard from my little corner in Bamenda, North West Region, Cameroon. And through technology, I’m helping ensure other women’s and girl’s voices in my community are being heard, too.

As the CEO and founder of the Community Association for Vulnerable Persons and Co-founder of the Cameroon Humanitarian Women Network, I sensitize women, girls, and communities on the importance of digital empowerment. I identify women and girls in the community and organize trainings on the responsible use of the internet and social media.

I was first introduced to technology through a university computer course where I drafted my first email and signed up for Facebook. That class sparked a limitless passion for empowering myself and growing my digital skills. Since then, the transformation I’ve experienced through technology has enabled me to support others in their transformation.

My fellow sisters with disabilities have little to no access to technology and digital tools. This is often due to barriers generated by stigma, marginalization, and discrimination. They struggle to afford internet access and the opportunity to build their digital skills. Those who have basic online skills sometimes experience online harassment or gender-based violence that scares them away from the digital world.

As a woman with disabilities, I empathize with the numerous barriers women and girls face accessing technology. Due to my income level, I can’t always access the right digital tools or regularly afford the internet. Paying for skills training is expensive and leaves most women and girls behind, especially those with disabilities.

With these barriers in mind, I have recommendations on making technology more accessible for women and girls with disabilities. First, government and internet entities can make the internet affordable or free, with special consideration for those experiencing disabilities. Then they can create supportive access to digital tools for women and girls.

These entities can also support women-led initiatives for women and girls’ digital empowerment in grassroots communities and humanitarian contexts.

My country, Cameroon, is in the midst of a sociopolitical crisis and violent conflict. Women and girls’ mobility is greatly restricted and there is a high prevalence of gender-based violence. I train women and girls to use their digital tools to report all gender-based violence cases. It is important that each instance of violence is known, and digital tools make this data collection more possible.

Technology has transformed me into a role model among women and girls with and without disabilities. They look up to me as a mentor, and I am doing my best to
mentor them. With my ability to use technology and the internet responsibly, I can stay safe online and teach them to stay safe too.

At the beginning of their training, I teach women and girls how to download apps to their Androids and smartphones to benefit their day-to-day living. They can develop professional skills and discover employment opportunities. Later on, I teach them about online networking, e-Learning, and e-Marketing. I share
resources such as scholarships, conferences, and fellowship programs worldwide.

Technology has enabled me to communicate with disabled people I may not have reached otherwise, especially those who are deaf or hearing impaired.

I’ve learned that women and girls with disabilities have limited chances of receiving a formal education and accessing digital tools. We link them to donors and supporters who can offer these tools, and I train them on usage.

Technology allows me to give back to my community and create change that helps lift up women’s voices. I hope that by helping women and girls, especially those with disabilities, take full advantage of digital tools, they will also be empowered to bring about a new world powered by women.


SheTransformsTech

This story was published as part of World Pulse's SheTransformsTech Campaign and is included in the #SheTransformsTech final report. Download the report to find out what grassroots women and gender-diverse individuals from 60+ countries say individuals, policymakers, and tech companies must do to make tech equitable for all.

Comments 31

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Nini Mappo
Apr 22
Apr 22

That's wonderful, Veronica! I like that you say that technology 'transformed you into a role model', and now you are using your tool of transformation to transform the lives of marginalized women. May your work continue to thrive, and congratulations on being featured!

Veronica Ngum Ndi
May 24
May 24

Thank you sister Nini.
Love
Veronica

Olutosin
Apr 22
Apr 22

Wonderful work sister mi. Thank you for the inclusion.

Veronica Ngum Ndi
May 24
May 24

Thanks Sis Olutosin. Am honored
Love
Veronica

Jill Langhus
Apr 23
Apr 23

Congrats, Dear Veronica, on all your hard work, and for being a featured storyteller:-) You rock! XX

Veronica Ngum Ndi
May 24
May 24

Thanks Jill. You have been a source of inspiration for me.
Love
Veronica

Jill Langhus
May 26
May 26

You’re welcome. Aw, thanks! You inspire me, too! Xx

Regina Afanwi Young
Apr 23
Apr 23

Hello dear Vero,
Congratulations on being a featured story teller. I can attest to your trainings on using digital tools. Thank you so much dear sis for all you do in view of inclusion especially for women with disabilities.
Keep up the good work dear sis.
Love and hugs**** Regina

Veronica Ngum Ndi
May 24
May 24

Dear Sister Regina
Thank you and thanks for always collaborating with me for the empowerment of women and girls with disabilities in Bamenda
Love
Veronica

emarxen
Apr 26
Apr 26

Thank you for the wonderful work you do!

Veronica Ngum Ndi
May 24
May 24

Thank you my Sister
Love
Veronica

rebecca.tang
Apr 26
Apr 26

Thank you for sharing. You story is inspiring. Everyone of us regardless of gender, normal or with disabilities, ages, etc. can make contribution to the society. Also, Technology is essential especially under pandemic.
We are proud of you on the great work you have done. Please keep this on and help more others!
May Almighty God bless you!

Veronica Ngum Ndi
May 24
May 24

Thank You Sister.
Am honored
Love
Veronica

Alicia LaFemina
Apr 28
Apr 28

Thank you for sharing your story and it is amazing to read all that you have accomplished. As a software developer, your story reminds me how important it is to keep every type of user in mind when creating new tech.

Veronica Ngum Ndi
May 24
May 24

Yes Sister Alicia
Inclusion is very good especially for women and girls with disabilities
Love
Veronica

mjuricic
Apr 28
Apr 28

veronica , beautiful life story , thanks for sharing and inspiring the world

Veronica Ngum Ndi
May 24
May 24

Thanks Sister for encouraging me
Love
Veronica

Samia Al sayed
Apr 29
Apr 29

Wonderful article . your words show the power you have & how amazing to help women with disability .You're a great mentor. Chapeau

TonyaH
Apr 29
Apr 29

Accessibility for all is a big topic, and especially in technology. Keep leading the charge and I look forward to learning more about what you're doing to ensure women and girls with disabilities receive access to digital tools.

SWagner
Apr 29
Apr 29

Such a great thing you are doing by helping others and being a role model. Keep up the great work!

hcampuzano
Apr 29
Apr 29

let´s support empowered women and avoid the stigma due to my disability

JSW4020
Apr 29
Apr 29

Thank you for teaching others the benefits of technology and for being a role model.

Geo
Apr 29
Apr 29

Hi Veronica,
What an inspirational story! Thank you for sharing your experience, your passion, your work, and your knowledge with others! ... oh and congrats on being a featured storyteller :-). That's awesome!

Tamarack Verrall
Apr 29
Apr 29

Dear Veronica,
You are taking such an important message to women, how technology can transform. That you are showing women how to use it to report gender based violence, and making sure that women with the most barriers get your priority, is the blueprint we all need to keep in mind and find ways to act on. I can imagine how empowered and supported women feel meeting and being able to learn from you.

Fabiola Lisiero
Apr 30
Apr 30

Thanks for this beautiful work. We need to incentive and support the inclusion of the women's with disabilities in technology.

Vasanth Ayothiraman
Apr 30
Apr 30

Huge respect to you Veronica

Very glad that Technology has transformed you into a role model among women and girls with and without disabilities.

jpalapuz
Apr 30
Apr 30

Thank you for sharing, Veronica! And thank you for being a mentor among all women and girls with and without disabilities

karina lima
May 01
May 01

Let’s think on changing atitudes. Not only mindset. Thank you so much for sharing

karina lima
May 01
May 01

This for sure makes us reflect on how we can change the tech companies actions. Not only mindset Great story

Nari
May 01
May 01

Thank you for sharing your story, it was truly inspiring.

Aparna Sanjay
Jun 03
Jun 03

Veronica, I salute you for the important work you are doing. Technology does indeed help people with disabilities a whole lot, it can literally open up a whole world of opportunities to them and the ability to make their voice heard. Kudos.