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Empowering deaf students in tech in Nigeria

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By Abraham Adekunle

Deaf Technology Foundation is building futures through coding and robotics.

In Nigeria, the Deaf Technology Foundation is revolutionizing the tech sector in Nigeria by empowering deaf students to become coders, Robotics engineers, and innovators. Founded by Wuni Bitrus in 2017, the non-profit organization provides training, mentorship, and career guidance to deaf and hard-of-hearing students, helping them overcome the limitations and discrimination they face in Nigeria. Through its clubs in Jos, Zamfara state, and Abuja, the foundation has already made a significant impact, with students like Mercy Samson Grimah, Mercy Sale, and Joy Yusuf excelling in coding and robotics.

Despite facing discrimination and being told they couldn’t pursue careers in science and technology, these students have proven that with the right support and resources, they can achieve anything. Mercy Samson Grimah, also known as Mama Robotics, is a shining example of the foundation’s impact. She was once told that she couldn’t become a computer scientist because she was deaf, but she has proven her doubters wrong. With the support of the foundation, she has learned to code and build robots, and she now wants to become a computer scientist.

Students developed passion for tech upon joining the initiative.

Mercy Sale, another student at the foundation, was also told that she couldn’t study computer science because she was deaf. But she didn’t let that stop her. She joined the Deaf Technology Foundation and learned to code and build websites. She even travelled to the Netherlands to compete in a robotics competition, where she realized that technology could take her anywhere she wanted to go. Joy Yusuf, a third student at the foundation, wanted to become a doctor but was told that she couldn’t because she was deaf.

But she didn’t give up on her dreams. She joined the Deaf Technology Foundation and discovered a new passion for web development. She now wants to become a web developer and create websites that can help people with disabilities. The foundation’s approach is holistic, focusing on building self-esteem, improving reading skills, and providing career guidance. Its leaders believe that technology can be a powerful tool for social change, and they are committed to scaling up their impact by partnering with companies and organizations in Nigeria’s thriving tech sector.

Challenges facing the organization and how they can be solved.

One of the foundation’s major challenges is a lack of funding. With only two paid tutors for computer programming and robotics, the organization relies heavily on volunteers to help conduct sports activities for club members. But despite these challenges, the foundation remains committed to its mission of empowering deaf students in tech. To scale up its impact, the foundation is exploring partnerships with companies in Nigeria’s tech sector, particularly in the robotics industry. The organization hopes to work with companies to develop self-driving car technology and automated wheelchairs, among other projects.

Lengdung Tungchamma, co-founder of Jenta Reads, a community initiative that aims to improve reading skills in impoverished areas of Jos, has worked with the Deaf Technology Foundation for several years. He believes that the organization’s passion and dedication are key to its success. “The most important thing about Deaf Tech is the passion of its leaders and founders,” he says. “Giving people with disabilities skills that they can use to earn an income and make a future for themselves is the best thing anyone can do.”

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Finally, the foundation’s impact extends beyond Nigeria’s tech sector. It is also helping to break down barriers and challenge stereotypes about people with disabilities. By showing that deaf students can excel in tech, the organization is inspiring a new generation of young people with disabilities to pursue their dreams, no matter what obstacles they may face. By empowering deaf students in tech, the organization is not only breaking down barriers but also building a more inclusive and equitable society. With its passion, dedication, and innovative approach, the Deaf Technology Foundation is inspiring a new generation of young people with disabilities to pursue their dreams and make a difference in the world.


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