A few weeks ago, the digital side of me got stirred up when I visited Mama Philomena Lahu Fokchetke in her home. At the age of 94, I wondered if this nonagenarian knew anything about computers and if she could possibly have interest in technology.
In carrying out my spontaneously planned research, I showed her a laptop, an iPad, and a Blackberry smart phone. I went on to explain how each of these devices can be used to document information and connect with people, information, and opportunities globally. Mama Philomena’s face beamed a radiant girlish smile as she listened with childlike curiosity.
Done with my unsolicited lecture, I picked up the iPad and accessed a video I had produced and posted on World Pulse. Her eyes glowed in amazement. She chuckled intermittently as she watched the video.
Suddenly, she stretched out her hands towards the iPad, and said, “Please can you give me thisone?”
Her request caught me off guard. I was speechless and became lost in thought as I tried hard to figure out what she was up to. “I want to connect to and see the world too!” she announced.
I was quite excited by her keen interest in accessing and experiencing the wealth of resources the Internet offers, but could not ignore the fact that it would be a Herculean task for her to productively navigate her way online without help: Mama Philomena can neither read nor write. I am, however, certain that if she ever gains informed ability to use digital tools, she will find joy in using it to share her wealth of life’s experienceand wisdom with the rest of the world.
About This Story
Women Weave the Web Campaigncrowdsourced nearly 600 voices from 71 countries. We have synthesized these stories and solutions for inclusive technology policies in a new report—Recommendations for Women's Digital Empowerment. This story is part of the larger report, which can be downloaded in fullhere.