Three Brilliant Nigerian-Irish Teenage Girls Develop Groundbreaking App to Support Those With Dementia

Dementia is a nonspecific, albeit devastating neurological disorder that affects 50 million people globally, with ten million new cases each year. While there are no known cures for the neurological disorder, newly developing technologies and innovations on the horizon look promising in treating the complex, and often confusing illness. During times of such technological advancements, few could have predicted that the newest addition to dementia-fighting technology would come from the brilliant minds of three exceptionally innovative teenagers. 

Many Inherent Dangers and Safety Concerns Occur with Dementia

Since dementia is a disease that diminishes memory and mental abilities, every-day and otherwise innocuous circumstances that are hard to see or prevent can become hazardous to the afflicted individual. 

Things such as household appliances, the ability to tell time, and randomly becoming unfamiliar with their surroundings are just some of the potentially dangerous symptoms of an illness that is immensely difficult to treat. 

Needless to say, those with dementia, as well as their loved ones and caretakers, could use all the hope they can get from new strategies and technologies.  

Enter three Nigerian-Irish teen girls and their mentor. Unassuming though they may be, these remarkable young women have breathed fresh air into the future of those living with dementia after creating an app designed to help patients and caregivers overcome the many confusing neurological disease's everyday obstacles. 

The three girls, Joy Njekwe, 17, Rachael Akano, 15, and Margaret Akano, 17, created an app called Memory Haven that recently beat out 1,500 other young app makers from 62 countries in securing the first prize in the Technovation Girls Competition. 

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Nigerian-Irish Teens Develop a Dementia App for Sufferers Coping With Lockdown–and It’s Won Awards

The Nigerian-Irish teens live in Drogheda on the east coast of Ireland. Their mentor, Evelyn Nomayo is currently perusing her Ph.D. in computer science and statistics.

When Nomayo realized she was often the only female or person of color in her classes, the obvious imbalance troubled her. So with the goal of bringing more girls and people of color into that space, she founded Phase Innovate, whose mission is to mentor and train underrepresented minorities in the fields of tech and business.

Inspired by Nomayo’s recollection of her own mother’s battle with dementia,  and worried about how people with the condition might be struggling with lockdown, the trio brainstormed, coded, and created Memory Haven over the course of the 12-week Technovation challenge.

“My mom started having dementia problems three to four years ago,” Nomayo, whose mother passed away earlier this year, told NPR.


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Cynthia Neste
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I was born in Pflugerville, Texas, right near Austin. I...

I was born in Pflugerville, Texas, right near Austin. I am a proud veteran of the United States Air Force. Prior to joining the Elk...