Haben Girma is the first deaf-blind student to graduate from Harvard Law School, and she is taking her education and her passion with her as she champions the cause of more accessibility and better education for other people who are deaf and blind throughout the world.
Girma’s mother fled the country of Eritrea in the early 1980s and came to the United States, where Girma was born in California. Because of this, Girma had access to technologies that helped her to get an education. These technologies, including a digital Braille device, where not available to help her older brother, who is also deaf-blind, and so she grew up living with the disparity between worlds of accessible technologies in developed versus developing nations.
Now, armed with her law degree, Girma is trying to take the world by storm. She wants to fight to make accessibility technology easily available for more people throughout the world so that people like her can get the education they deserve no matter where they are born.
To this end, Girma has even met with President Barack Obama to champion her cause. During her August 29 visit to the White House, Girma communicated with the president by typing and spoke to attendees during the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
You can watch footage of Girma typing to the president as part of the BBC’s Women of Africa project.