Social Entrepreneur, Thembiso Magajana, shares her heartwarming journey of how “Social Coding for Girls” project started.
My journey to becoming a Social Entrepreneur is not a very profound one. There are no heartfelt antidotes of how from a young age I knew I wanted to save the world or be a champion of the community. In fact, I grew up pretty self-absorbed, only concerned about my little bubble.
That was until my aunt had a baby and I soon became cousins with the most extraordinary little girl you have ever seen. Although technically my cousin, I referred to her as my niece because she was 16 years younger than me and I was fiercely overprotected over her. Anything she wanted, I got for her. And as fate would have it, When she turned six years old, what she wanted, was to become a computer engineer.
Now wait, let’s go back a few paces.
Firstly, I come from an accounting background. That’s about as far from Computer Engineering as Paris is from Timbuktu. And to be completely honest, the only thing I really knew about using computers was how to do an excel spreadsheet.
Fast forward to the morning my “niece” turned six, and decided that she would be an engineer who would build the worlds next Facebook and her “aunt” who could barely tell the difference between the on and off button on a computer, (although to be fair, the same button works for both functions) would be her teacher.
So that’s what I set out to do. I spent sleepless nights researching, reading “Computer programming for Dummies” and watching Youtube tutorials. Soon I was teaching her, what the internet was teaching me.
One Saturday, She arrived at our lesson with 3 other young girls. And that’s how Social Coding was born. With 4 six years old’s and one laptop.
Presently, we’re an organization of 185 girls, all of whom are being taught digital entrepreneurship through computer programming by a teach of dedicated Social Coding Volunteers. We are so set on ensuring that EVERY GIRL in South Africa has the opportunity to be exposed to Coding, that we even developed a special curriculum, where the girls are taught input and output programming using a blackboard, for workshops run in rural areas where girls may have never even seen or touched a Computer because it’s important for us to introduce technology to at a level that every girl can understand. Our Workshops not only teach young girls from as young as six how to be innovative creators, but how they can be leaders..conceptualists of community solutions because our mandate is “The sustainability of the creator and her community”. This organization is my life because I have seen it GIVE LIFE to others.
So perhaps I didn’t set out to change the world.
But the World certainly changed me.