“EDUCATION FOR ALL” In Nepal thanks to Barbara and The Code Travelers workshop.
Barbara, a volunteer at Code Travelers, tells us about her experience at an orphanage in Nepal where she built a computer programming class from scratch.
“One year after the terrible earthquake that hit Nepal in April 2015, I came back to the orphanage “Children and Youth First” (www.cyfnepal.org), at Thimi in Katmandu Valley, with the MIT Scratch program in my handbag to teach kids how to code.
I discovered the Scratch Program thanks to the Code Travelers, a program initiated by the NGO Libraries Without Borders in France. I followed a training course in Paris and I now volunteer for the NGO, the goal being to act upon the technologies we use, and not just be a simple spectator or consumer.
When I arrived, the school playground served as an emergency shelter for children. I was greeted with smiles and “namaste”before beginning a week-longseries of algorithm and computer programming workshops. . Neema and Dilip started creating their own interactive stories, with princesses and rock stars, while Radha programmed the little yellow Scratch cat to move 50 feet. It set the stage for a lot of questions, teasing, and laughter. Their curiosity spurred many questions, such as “What’s the language of the computer?” or “Is a computer smart?”
I also met Bneeta and Pratiksha, two 25 year old entrepreneurs at Women in Sciences Technology Engineering and Mathematics, a program in Nepal that organizes the “Hours of Code” workshops and train children once a week to use information technology.
Despite the slow rate of reconstruction, daily brownouts and water cuts, and months of blockade between the Indian border and Nepal-- one of the main transit points providing the small Himalayan nation with petrol and medicines--innovative initiatives emerge to teach underprivileged children, of whom one million no longer have schools, to use technology and computers.
So, the French-Nepalese connection is established and it is the beginning of a new reconstruction chapter based on the use of technology and entrepreneurship !”