Technology as Empowerment

Joanne O’Riordan’s Address to the UN

On April 26, 2012, 16 year old Joanne O’Riordan gave a speech to the United Nations for Girls in ICT Day. Although Joanne was born with one of rarest conditions we know of, Total Amelia, her motto in life is no limbs, no limits.

Even as a young child, technology’s played a crucial role in Joanne’s life. In both her home and school environment, Joanne has always been eager to use technology creatively so that it can help her achieve whatever it is she wants to do. “Technology has made me even more determined to achieve a better standard and quality of life. I always think, if I can do this now, what would I achieve in the future?”

In her address to the UN Joanne dares the women in ICT to do what she’s been doing her whole life—thinking outside the box. She challenges them to find knew ways to make technology more accessible to people who really need. She puts a more specific challenge out there too: “Build me a robot”— a robot to allow Joanne to do some of the things her body can’t.

This young woman’s determination and resilience can’t be created by any sort of futuristic gadget, nevertheless, Joanne maintains that for her, technology is truly a way of living. Why not take Joanne’s challenge and think outside the box— what are some new ways technology could help you?

For more on this, read Joanne’s full speech HERE

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One Response to Technology as Empowerment

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