Meet Our Hackathon Winners, Morsal Fakoori and Bustan Hashemi!

Today, we’re speaking with two of our hackathon winners. Together, they developed a program to help fundraise for the homeless in their community. Read on to learn more about their experience and their work at CTI.

  1. Tell us about yourself.

Hi I am Morsal Fakoori. I am 18 years old and graduated from 12th grade in 2016. I am interested in Dental, Medical, and Computer Science. I have many goals in each field.

  1. Tell us about what brought you to CTI and how it’s changed you.

Code to Inspire (CTI) is one of the best experiences of my life. I’ve achieved so much as a result of the program.  It’s the best place for girls to improve their coding skills. I really love CTI because my coding has improved so much while I’ve been enrolled.

  1. What programming languages or framework you have learned so far?

Before CTI, I knew HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Bootstrap, JQuery and now I am learning WordPress and Graphic.

  1. Your group is one of the winners of our March 2017 Hackathon in Herat. Congratulations! Tell us about your project and what issue it aims to address.

Our group is so lucky to be a Hackathon winner. In our project, we tried to help those in need, specifically children and orphans who live in poverty. We wanted to use our coding to find solutions to some of their problems.

  1. Why you think learning to code is important for women in Afghanistan?

It’s difficult for women and girls to find work in Afghanistan, so coding is a good option because it’s possible to work from home and still earn money.

  1. What is your message to people around the world as a girl in Afghanistan who is a coder?

Let’s start a revolution through coding and show the world that girls can code and develop amazing apps and websites!

  1. What else do you want us to know about you?

 

I think very deeply about every issue in my life, and I work really hard to achieve every goal I set for myself. I’m funny and I have a ton of dreams and ambitions that I intend to reach.

 

  1. Tell us about yourself.

This is Bustan Hashemi, I am 18 years old and I am in 12th grade at Goharshad High School. I was born in Turkmenistan in 1999. I can speak in Dari, Turkish, and English.  

  1. Tell us about what brought you to CTI and how it’s changed you.

Attending to CTI has changed my life completely for the better. I never even thought that one day I would be able to code.

  1. What programming languages or framework you have learned so far?

So far, we have learned some easy and interesting ones such as HTML, CSS, JavaScript, JQuery, Bootstrap and now WordPress.

  1. Your group is one of the winners of our March 2017 Hackathon in Herat. Congratulations! Tell us about your project and what issue it aims to address.

We wanted to help orphans and children in poverty. It’s become a serious problem in our community. The website we developed lets us collect money and help and support these children.

  1. Why you think learning to code is important for women in Afghanistan?

Learning to code in Afghanistan is very important because women and girls can learn and improve the country and solve our society’s problems.

  1. What is your message to people around the world as a girl in Afghanistan who is a coder?

We girls have the ability and capacity to learn code and develop applications so please trust us ☺

  1.  What else do you want us to know about you?

I am  impatient and quiet.

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Interview with CTI mentor Saboor Rahmani

Q1.

Short bio of yourself?

ANS1:

I am Saboor Rahmani and I was born on August 1989 in Herat, Afghanistan. After completing high school diploma, I have started computer science faculty on 2010. In 2013 I have successfully accomplished my bachelor degree and graduated from network department.

Q2. What was the reason you joined CTI as?

ANS2:

Miss Fereshteh Forough was my active and hardworking teacher and I have known her since starting computer science faculty in Herat. She founded Code to Inspire (CTI) on 2015, from the first days that CTI established, I have started helping her team as an honorary employee in Herat. Fortunately, on December 2016 Miss Forough the founder of CTI and Hasib Rassa CTI manager, suggested me to work as a finance and logistics employee, luckily this was a big chance for me to become an official member of CTI. I believe that empowering the women will raise up the knowledge and culture in the society, this was my big reason, why I am joint CTI.

Q3.

As a man pursuing a career in tech, why do you think it is important for women in Afghanistan to learn to coding?

ANS3:

Since technology and coding are growing in Afghanistan, therefore this is a good chance for girls to start and grow their knowledge in coding. Also coding is a best way of earning money for girls, because they can work and code from home, office and other areas that no one can disturbing them.

Q4:

How do you see the progress of students from the very first day until now?

ANS4:

As I said, from the first days that I started honorary cooperating with CTI, I did not believe so much that CTI will be the first coding school in Afghanistan with lots of achievements. But after a limited time I found that this center is different from others, I found that CTI coding school really works to empower the girls and women society in Afghanistan. I exactly remember the first days that the school students were not familiar with coding, but nowadays each one of the students can design a website. CTI school held a Hackathon contest between students on March 2017 on the occasion of women’s solidarity month. On the last day of hackathon, the students presented their projects with demos, I was really surprised with their ideas and applications they built.

Q5:

If you want to share a message to people around the world about Afghanistan what it would be? 

ANS5:

Afghans are talented and hardworking, the only challenge on their way is lack of peace and quietness which is their big dream for long times.

Q6:

Tell us a fun fact about yourself?

ANS6:

When I face any problem, I always want to have my own solution and like to find the easy way of solving that problem. This will method increase my self-confidence and help me try more.

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Code to Freedom: One CTI mentor on the empowerment coding brings

Code to Freedom: One CTI mentor on the empowerment coding brings

Code to Inspire Mentor

I was born in Herat Afghanistan where I am originally from. I was brought up here. I finished school in 2008 and signed up for the University entrance exam which is the most difficult governmental exam to open the gate to the university.

Computer Science was my first choice for my major, and I was fortunate enough to earn my diploma in computer science in 2013.

After I was done with University, I got the opportunity to work in a public diplomacy program, World In Conversation run by Penn State University. The project was to hold video conversations between Afghan university students and American students as well as NATO cadets. First, I started working as a dialogue facilitator and then became the lead coordinator.

Fereshteh Forough was my university teacher. She was such an inspiring figure in the university and everyone counted on her. She was not only kind to me, but also to everyone in the class. Her kindness and inspiring attitude made her unitinimating, and we spoke often. As a result of our teacher/student relationship, our mutual respect for each other, and similar values, she brought me on the ground floor to Code to Inspire. While I was working, she emailed me about founding a school for girls who are interested in computer science. Her idea amazed me. It was such an honor to be helpful to someone who is so strong and determined. Her plans, determination, mission and vision inspired me to work with her.

As the project manager, I feel strong and determined. We started this entire project from nothing. I can remember painting the walls and appointing the classroom with tables and chairs. We were a completely new phenomenon to our society. And now we are well-known enough. There are a lot of students who know and love our work.

I believe in women’s empowerment, and never underestimate it. I think women should work in tech because they are more innovative than men. They have good ideas and dedicate more time to it. Coding is better and more comfortable for women in Afghanistan because they can code from the safety of their own home. Seeing my students’ passion for coding reinforces my belief that women were born for it. Because in Afghanistan women aren’t exactly allowed or do physical work or to work in the same place as men. adjust Afghanistan is improving, particularly in terms of technology, so women can and should make up half of the tech society.

I wouldn’t imagine young school girls could learn how to code because I couldn’t do it as an adult man, which is why I studied computer networking to escape software engineering. But now when I see them learning with passion and enthusiasm, I feel like participating in the coding classes as a student. Both our school students as well as university students have made tremendous developments in CTI school. They can design websites, develop video games and mobile Apps. This is incredible and not every man or woman can do it. They have experienced two Hackathons in 2016 and 2017 hosted by CTI. Students will be so excited to come to our school and begin coding that they won’t even eat! They’ll show up hungry to avoid wasting time eating or in in transit.They come directly to CTI after they are dismissed from their schools or universities.

I want to say to the world that people are weary of war and terror in Afghanistan. Our people are trying to make Afghanistan a better place, and education is crucial to that. We are studying in the dust, under the hot sun, and in the cold under the storm of freezing snow. We are a strong nation and we’re continuing to educate ourselves despite the fact that there is an ongoing war in our country. The Taliban burning our schools down doesn’t stop us.  And I am saying to the world that now our girls are coding to fight ignorance and build Afghanistan 2.0. This is not small. This will impact our entire society since tiny acts can have profound effects.

The fun fact about me is that I am afraid of coding myself. If I were to pick between collapsing a mountain and coding a simple website, I would definitely collapse the mountain in a day. This is true with most of my male friends. That is why I am more optimistic about females.

 

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In Conversation with Ehsan Ehrari: Computer Science Student & CTI Mentor Extraordinaire

This week, we spoke with one of male mentors about what motivated him to join Code to Inspire, his students’ progress, and the larger implications of the program for Afghanistan. Read on to learn more!

Tell us about yourself.

I’m 22 years old, and I study software engineering in the computer science department at Herat University.

What was the reason you joined CTI as a male mentor to teach girls coding?

I wanted to join a cause that helped the women of my country  solve many of the economy, security, and social problems they encounter every day.

Which programming languages and subjects are you teaching your students?

I am teach them how to make games with Unity Game Engine and the C# programming language.

As a man pursuing a career in tech, why do you think it is important for women in Afghanistan to learn to coding?

Due to security and familial restraints, women can’t go outside the city to work. I think through technology, they can make a good income much more easily than without it. Also learning programming skills can empower Afghan women to become financial independent.  

How do you see the progress of your students from the very first day until now?

I remember my first day at Code to Inspire some students didn’t have a lot of knowledge about programming, specially gaming. Now they can easily make their own games. They improve quickly and work very well.

If you want to share a message to people around the world about Afghanistan what it would be?

I hope that the skills I’m teaching these women will bring Afghanistan greater peace and security.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself.

Everyday I love coding more than the day before. Still, today I don’t love it as much I’ll love it tomorrow.

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