My Experience Teaching Code to IDPs

Ever since the year 2015, when I saw on Aljazeera that over 1 million kids were out of school due to the Boko-Haram insurgency, I’d had the dream of helping Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in a huge way, and ICT was the only option at hand for achieving this, since I breathe and live coding. And I must say, what I have in mind is massive; it’ll definitely blow your minds.

In the course of trying to make my vision a reality, I learnt about Simi, the lead of the Django Girls Lagos, 2017  team – an event aimed at exposing IDPs to coding via volunteer mentors and coaches. She is also the founder of AboCoders and I wanted to meet with her so we could discuss and think around my massive idea. She sort of cunningly forced me to sign up as a coach and mentor for the event before I could get to meet with her, and boy was I glad!

I’m excited that I was a part of Django Girls Lagos, 2017 and these are my reasons:

I had the opportunity of meeting awesome, wonderful and brilliant young minds from different parts of the country who volunteered as mentors and coaches. It was a time to network, share experiences and catch fun. I’ve really not had such an opportunity for so much fun in a long while. (I mean, see us all grinning and smiling.)

Django Girls Lagos, 2017 also provided me with the opportunity of having my first contact with IDPs, which kind of made me believe more in my dream and vision. I had a sense of fulfillment, not just because I was able to teach 13-year old Rebecca coding, but because I could also speak words of hope and encouragement to her, which I’m sure she won’t be forgetting for a very long time to come. Yes! We even became friends on Facebook.

Though it might seem like a drop of water in the ocean, Django Girls Lagos, 2017 at least gave me the opportunity to start somewhere and with someone, which to me is a big deal.

Plus, I love the way the meals and refreshments kept coming during the event. Participants watching their weight had to refuse some of the refreshment and meals saying “Django Girls really wants to fatten us up”

In a nutshell, it was fun to have been a part of Django Girls Lagos, 2017 as a coach and mentor. It really has reignited my passion towards helping IDPs.

Written by Benjamin Faleye

 

Django Girls Lagos Organisers’ Note:

We could not have had a successful and impactful workshop without the support of the following: AboCoders, Andela, BellaNaija, CCHub Nigeria, GitHub, Google Nigeria, MTN Nigeria and Python Software Foundation and other individuals. Thanks to their support, we were able to give every IDP and student from Bridge Academy a laptop and get everything we needed for the workshop.

To our coaches, we would like to say a big thank you. Even if we had all the money but had no coaches, we would have made no impact. Thank you for the time you spent sharing knowledge with the participants! You made it happen!

 

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