In Conversation With Hackathon Winner, Hayedah Rasouli

Read on to learn about how Hayedah is uses coding as a tool to both express herself and save homeless children!

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

CTI: Thanks for taking the time to speak with us! Tell us about yourself.

HR:  I am 21 years old, I have studied web design for 2 years at Code to Inspire, and I studied English language at literature faculty of Herat University. I also studied ICDL at USWDP.

CTI:  How did you find out about code to inspire? Tell us about your journey to CTI, how do you compare yourself now from the very first day you joined CTI?

HR: I found out about Code To Inspire from one of our family friends. When I heard about it, I thought we would learn about computer programs like Microsoft Suite. I didn’t have the frame of reference to understand what we even would study!

My sister and I came to the school, and on the first day we were shocked by what we saw and learned.

I will never forget how, on the first day, our teacher said, “HTML is like the foundation of a house, and CSS is how you design your house.” That really motivated me, but I was overwhelmed. How could I learn to do all that? Then, I realized the things I could do with coding. It was beyond all of my wildest dreams to be honest. I could finally show the world my point of view, all of my wishes, what I’m made of.

When I look back now at my first day at Code to Inspire, I think it’s safe to say it’s the best thing that happened in my life. I am so happy that I have an outlet through coding and web design to express myself.

CTI: What programming languages or framework you have learned so far?

HR:  We have studied HTML, CSS, Javascript, jQuery, Bootstrap framework, and now we are studying WordPress. I feel more powerful now than I did on my first days of school, and I am eager to become a Professional Front-end Web developer in future. I have so many ideas to help my people solve their problems by coding! I want to share their strengths and weaknesses to the world to have a better country and people!

CTI:  Your group is one of the winners of our March 2017 Hackathon in Herat, tell us about your project and what issue it is addressing?

HR: We wanted to help the homeless children in Afghanistan. it is a very complex problem that we face today as our country has many orphans, and there’s no clear solution. While we know it’s not something we alone can solve today or next week or in five weeks, we wanted to do something to address it. Someone has to!  So I set out three different solutions

  • Through coding, I can raise awareness of this issue and create a platform where Afghans and people around the world can donate money every month to the orphans.
  • Leverage the power and ubiquity of smartphones, and create an app where it’s easy to send the homeless children money.
  • Collect data on which parts of the city need the most help, and mobilize volunteers to go and facilitate donations.

I wanted to create three-pronged approach, so that there’s an option for everyone to get involved.  Our goal, ultimately, would be to raise enough money to create a safe shelter for these children where they have access to school, sports, and food and ultimately find a better life for themselves. If we’re able to help these children, Afghanistan’s next generation, a lot of other issues will settle too like illiteracy and lack of education.

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

HR: My message as an Afghan coder girl is that women can do and change any thing that they want and they each other’s strongest supporters. They just need to achieve their rights – rights that have been taken from them. We need more schools like Code to Inspire so that more people will appreciate and support our progress.

Fereshteh and our teachers are making this possible! I really want people to know though that girls who code can solve problems well beyond just herself: she can help her entire society.

CTI:  Tell as the fun fact about yourself

HR: Everything I do, I do to help impoverished Afghans. I have big dreams, and I want to create charities all over the world – beyond just Afghan orphans. I want to save orphans all over the world.