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Asha W Bio

My educational background is in marketing and media/communication and education. My work experience is in education and marketing in non-profit and for profit settings. My background does not include any interaction design. My experience with programming and software tools dates back to the late 90s when I was a high school student, taking AP Computer Science. In this course, I should have learned C++. I did not. Excelling at computer science would have confirmed my status as a nerd, and I don’t think I was prepared to face that reality at that age.

design problem

Relational Problem: 

How to provide support around sexual abuse in a way that does not stigmatize or retraumatize. How to form connections between individual young people and adults who are survivors but who do not publicly identify as sexual abuse survivors or offer such knowledge. Abuse has the potential to rob young persons of their childhoods- their laughter, their play, their optimism.  Research shows that our perception and attitudes toward past traumatic events have a greater effect on personality development and future success than the actual occurrence of the event. In addition, the civil conflict in Liberia, according to NGO’s, contributed to immigrants and refugees who have experience sexual abuse.

 

Major hindrance: 

How to bridge space and time gaps. I would need a tool to help construct affirmative interactions, which will help girls construct positive memories and sense of self.  In addition, Liberian-Americans typically maintain transnational identities and relationships. It is not unusual or disruptive to have close loved ones living on separate continents. As a result, I would need a tool that values, encourages, and helps sustain such interactions. The tool would support a formal mentorship relationship via a nonprofit agency providing support to Liberian-American persons who survived sexual abuse. In a sense, it is a rearticulation of traditional Liberian support networks. Given the Liberian Diaspora, which disrupted these networks, it’s necessary to identify clients. The tool can help the organization work with Big Brothers and Big Sisters, the public/county school systems and the Department of Social Services.  Such a mentoring relationship would have three goals (1) to provide a caring touch, (2) to help young persons build positive identities, and (3) to give young persons a venue “to be kids/adolescents.”  

 

The nonprofit agency would to respond to the need in Metro-Atlanta as one in four girls will be sexually abused before they turn 18.  Unfortunately, 90 percent of girls know their abuser and are “groomed” or conditioned by the abuser to accept mistreatment.  The agency seeks to identify young people early on, between the ages of 8-10, to counter the negative messages they have received. By celebrating the young peoples existence, we help to create positive childhood memories that will serve as firm foundations on which to build their lives

 

This design project will work with the family to host a birthday party, allowing the young person to experience childhood events.  In addition, the young person would receive a book bag with needed school supplies, two sets of clothes/shoes and hygiene products and a reflection journal.  During the year following the birthday party, the organization and design tool will utilize the journal to help the young person process the abuse in a nonjudgmental, private manner. For example, online tools that enable blogging can function as a journal-like resource.  A trained advocate will keep in contact at least once a month with the young to serve as a positive influence and ensure progress through the journal.  The intervention will culminate in a one-week summer camp, in which all young persons celebrated during the year will engage in nurturing activities and have a safe avenue to bond with other young survivors. 

 

 

 

 

Approaches to the Individual Design Problem

 

  • A Website

  • A blog

  • Interactive center

Bugs

 -I am still working on this part.