It really is a heroic thing to do, providing disadvantaged girls with the opportunity to change their lives and communities through coding.
Which is why it is so deserving that Abisoye Ajayi-Akinfolarin of GirlsCoding has been featured on CNN Heroes.
Ajayi-Akinfolarin discussed how she discovered computer programming and why she decided to give disadvantaged girls the same opportunity.
“My first experience with a computer was at the age of 10, on a school break, at a business center run by my brother’s friend,” she said.
Learning to type and modify text in Microsoft Word was just beautiful. But I really discovered my love for computers when I joined an IT firm as an intern after high school. When I got introduced to the world of computer programming, I was just natural with it. It just flowed. It’s all about solving problems. I never knew that I’d be looking for solutions to problems regarding less privileged girls.
The GirlsCoding students have taken the opportunity given to them and used it to develop apps that will help countless other.
Ajayi-Akinfolarin some of the apps, including “Hope Baskets” and “Break the Blade.”
One project that I really like is called Hope Baskets. The girls wanted to get beggars off the streets, so they created a website to be a bridge between the rich and the poor. They wanted a way where someone can declutter their house and give them a call. Then they take what they’re getting rid of — food, clothing, educational materials — and give it to those in need.
We have another project called Break the Blade, about stopping female genital mutilation. These girls believe there is a lot of ignorance about this and want to be ambassadors on this issue. Eventually, they want to have a wrist band where you can press a button and it calls local authorities to come if FGM is about to take place. The fact that they can create solutions to problems makes them feel bold. It is no longer about just coding.
And the future, too, holds even more promise. Asked what her plans for GirlsCoding were, Ajayi-Akinfolarin said:
Right now, we are expanding into different states in Nigeria. One day, we also hope to have an institution called Girls Village — a residential program that would provide all types of training for young girls. We’d also give them a chance to incubate their ideas about how to solve problems in their communities and learn how to pitch them. You could call it a bigger version of what we are currently doing.