Many of our Pass It On award winners are making Big change in small ways. Casey, one of our Spring Pass It On award winner is using her award money to help empower women with disabilities through technology. Read her personal note to our community about her journey and her intent with the PIO award.
My name is Casey and I am 30 years old. Close to 10 years ago, I was involved in a road crash that left me quadriplegic, on a wheelchair and paralyzed from the shoulders down. After rehabilitation and learning to live as a quadriplegic in a developing country, I discovered through several challenges the enormous burden women with disabilities face in the country, not just by being a woman but a disabled woman. I founded the Chariots of Destiny Organization(COD) with the aim to empower especially women living with spinal cord injuries as well as to advocate for road safety. As a result of my injury, I am disabled from the neck down and hence cannot use my hands. I have learnt to use voice-activated software which has also enabled me to run COD strictly by voice.
Through working with COD I have been able to empower women economically, socially and psychologically through different projects. Through the “Adopt a Chair” project, we were able to provide wheelchairs to a number of women with disabilities. Some of these women we found crawling on the ground due to lack of the resources to purchase a wheelchair, while others had been using the same wheelchair for years since they were injured. We started the “Bags of a New Destiny – BAND” project to empower women through education. This project focuses on educating women with spinal cord injuries on everything they need to know with regard to living with a spinal cord injury. The beneficiaries receive bags of information post discharge from hospital. The bags contain journals and reading material on spinal cord injuries as well as DVDs and CDs to train them on different issues including physiotherapy. The beneficiaries also receive samples of healthcare products to start them off on the journey living with a spinal cord injury.
Through the work I have done with COD, I have received different awards including the Month of Women Entrepreneurs (MOWE) award (November 2010). This award recognizes women that have had a significant impact in empowering women in the country.
I applied for this Systers Anita Borg Pass It On Award to support in the launch of the “Tech Abled – Empowering women with disabilities through technology” project. This is an information awareness project that focuses on women with spinal cord injuries and particularly women living with quadriplegia. I started the Tech Abled project to teach women with spinal cord injuries how to use voice-activated software to enable them to use computers independently despite their lack of mobility. Majority that cannot use their hands due to injury will also learn different skills that will enable them to sustain themselves economically and provide a social forum where they will interact and learn from others with the same condition.
Casey’s incredible spirit and passion to help other women with disabilities through technology is inspiring. Our award winners continue to challenge the world through education and their strength to press on in bringing access to all women.
Congratulations Casey and Systers will continue to support your efforts.