Crafting, Communality, and Computing: Building on Existing Strengths To Support a Vulnerable Population

Aakash Gautam, Deborah Tatar, Steve Harrison

In Nepal, sex-trafficking survivors and the organizations that support them have limited resources to assist the survivors in their on-going journey towards reintegration. We take an asset-based approach wherein we identify and build on the strengths possessed by such groups. In this work, we present reflections from introducing a voice-annotated web application to a group of survivors. The web application tapped into and built upon two elements of pre-existing strengths possessed by the survivors -- the social bond between them and knowledge of crafting as taught to them by the organization. Our findings provide insight into the array of factors influencing how the survivors act in relation to one another as they created novel use practices and adapted the technology. Experience with the application seemed to open knowledge of computing as a potential source of strength. Finally, we articulate three design desiderata that could help promote communal spaces: make activity perceptible to the group, create appropriable steps, and build in fun choices.

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