Digital Champions 2016 / 2017

Empowering young people with disabilities

An illustrated, black-and-white collage showing the various 'Digital Champions' featured in this collection.

Digital Champions are powerful thinkers, creators, and innovators who are transforming their environment and communities for the better. As individuals or teams, they are addressing difficult questions such as gender, rights, participation and civic engagement, discrimination and poverty. We first introduced twelve inspiring profiles of Digital Champions as part of the Children’s Rights in the Digital Age report in 2014.

2016 is the 10th year anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). This convention is a major step toward changing the perception of disability and ensuring that societies recognize all people must be provided with the opportunities to live life to their fullest potential.

To commemorate the anniversary, we are shining a spotlight on young people with disabilities who are using the Internet and digital technologies for empowerment. Young people with disabilities are often excluded from society in many ways. The Internet and digital technology can be important means of making sure that children and young people with disabilities can participate in society and that their voices of are heard.

Read these inspiring Digital Champion profiles:

More profiles coming…

To create an even more diverse pool of stories, we would love to hear from you – whether you are a young person yourself or whether you are familiar with young people whose work aligns with this year’s Digital Champions project focus. In particular, we are seeking to highlight exceptional cases of young people with disabilities around the world who have empowered themselves and others through the use of digital technology.

If you have any further ideas for this project, please do not hesitate to email Sandra Cortesi at If you would like to suggest further Digital Champions, please visit.

Project members:

  • Kate Pawelczyk, UNICEF
  • Anna Burlyaeva, UNICEF
  • Sandra Cortesi, Berkman Klein Center
  • Briggs DeLoach, Berkman Klein Center

All illustrations created by Elsa Brown.