INVESTING IN THE YOUTH
Inspired by his own experiences when he was growing up, Dan Medani wanted to light the “spark of software” off in one or maybe two of the students at the Middle School in Atima to get them interested in coding. Dan dreams big. What if these students would start pursuing it in their own time, and eventually become hired as a software engineer for some tech company? “Working remotely for a technology company is a real possibility, and if we can get the ball rolling, it could create a huge source of income for the village. And if one or two of them make it all the way to a career, it will inspire others and build momentum around the profession (I know I am looking many years ahead).”
Dan taught an intro to software development course to a few of the local students, and at the same time he trained a teacher who could help with the course. For three days, students came for an intense class in the morning and by the end of the course, a group of 6 self-driven students were caught in the zone: “They were doing extra coding beyond what was assigned during the class! We had to kick them out at the end of each class. This made me think that we were really on to something.” With the support of the school, the teacher, and funds provided by donors, Dan suggested the formation of a pilot after-school club to foster these students’ interest. He has been following the students’ progress remotely using code.org, a non-profit that provides free online intro to programming classes, and with a couple of local volunteers in Atima is making sure the kids are staying on top of their course work. “Who knows? Perhaps we can inspire at least a few of the kids this year to continue into a career of software development.” There is huge potential in the sustainability of this project, and OCHO plans to support this initiative by giving these students access to reliable internet.
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