Today in Afghanistan, women continue to worry about security and in some places are still considered second-class status. 

Despite these challenges, we are witnessing a new generation of girls pushing boundaries - eager to learn new skills and enter the workforce.

Over the past few months the women of Dialexa and Vinli have been volunteering their time and expertise with a program called Girls Can Code that has been helping girls pursue a career in computer engineering in the most unexpected of places: Kabul, Afghanistan.

Technology and computer programming is a growing area of interest for these girls. And to foster this talent, the non-profit, Womanity, set out to launch a coding program called Girls Can Code in two of the largest girls’ public high schools in Kabul, Afghanistan.

The aim of this program is to build up their confidence, improve their problem-solving skills and expose girls to a world that is full of solutions, not just challenges.

“When the opportunity to work with Womanity came to Dialexa and Vinli over the summer, I was thrilled,” said Kia Wright, Front-End Developer at Dialexa, “As a woman who never imagined I'd be a programmer, I'm excited that we are not only helping to provide these girls with the resources to learn this incredibly valuable skill, but are able to reach them with our personal stories of challenges and encouragement. I hope that we can empower them with this knowledge and play a role in changing the attitude towards girls’ education in Afghanistan.”

How we are supporting

Over the summer of 2016 team members from Dialexa and Vinli, who are developers, designers, quality assurance and more, are mentoring these students via videos such as the one featured below. This video series will help the students understand their experiences, and cover topics such as the path these women have taken in their careers, what their typical day looks and some of the challenges they have had to overcome.

Together with Girls Can Code we are also raising $18,700 over the next 9 weeks in order to fund this program for the next two years. By supporting this campaign we are joining a global community of people dedicated to empowering young girls through education. Every single dollar donated to this campaign will fund the “Girls Can Code” program and even the smallest donation can make a great impact on the future of girls in Afghanistan. 

It’s sometimes the smallest acts that can make the biggest difference in a person’s future. For many people, it’s simply having a teacher, a parent, or a friend, standing there next you, telling you, 'Don’t give up!' It can be those small phrases of encouragement, 'You are smart. You are capable. You are good at what you do,' that can keep that fire burning inside of you.” commented Jennifer Conley, VP of Communications at Vinli.

“Today, we need to do more of this for young women pursuing careers in technology. That’s why I wanted to get involved in the Girls Can Code program. They are proving that you can bring opportunities and dreams to people in the most challenging environments. Teaching girls to code builds up self-confidence, and exposes girls to solutions using technology,” continues Jennifer, “I’m inspired by these young women going through the program, and encouraged by all the people that have come together in support of their future. I hope you will join us and help make a difference.”

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What is the Program? 

This groundbreaking program is designed for 11th and 12th grade girls and includes over 300 hours of instruction in basic code, such as HTML, CSS, JavaScript and PhP. 

The primary objective is to create opportunities for young Afghan women by enabling them to work and further their education in IT - an emerging livelihood option in Afghanistan. Girls Can Code believes that teaching coding skills at a young age can fundamentally change the trajectory of a young woman’s life and, in turn, society. Imagine how communities, society and business can improve with the full participation of girls and women developing the solutions! 

The Impact 

By the end of the program, 84 girls will have completed a college-level introduction to web development courses, which includes HTML, CSS, JavaScript, MySQL and PHP.  In parallel, Womanity is building critical partnerships with employers, higher education institutions and NGOs to provide internships, job opportunities, technical certificates, further education opportunities and skills development for students to succeed in the job market.  

The ripple effect of investing in girls and women is well documented. Investing in girls’ education increases her wages, a girl who graduates high school is more likely to ensure her children get an education and women spend more of the money they earn on the well being of their families. 

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Class Is Now in Session

Some thought teaching college level web development to high school girls in Afghanistan couldn't be done. Girls Can Code and Womanity are proving it can.

With the approval of the Ministry of Education in Afghanistan, Womanity has been piloting the coding curriculum in public girls' high schools. By fostering an early interest in computer science, we plan to improve employment rates and admission to higher education, and higher female participation in the growth of STEM (Science, Technology, Economics and Math) employment opportunities. 

Launched earlier this year, Girls Can Code has been implemented in two of Kabul’s largest girls' schools. Currently, forty girls in 11th and 12th grade are enrolled in the pilot program, which runs until the end of the school year in December. 

Womanity's Work in Afghanistan 

Womanity has been working in schools in Afghanistan for nearly a decade to advance girls’ education in the public school system, which was in shambles at the beginning of the 21st century.  

As a part of its work to ensure access to quality education, Womanity developed a holistic, innovative model of school intervention to tackle the challenges to girls’ education in Afghanistan in 2007.  The School in a Box model is now implemented in 15 public high schools for girls, and serves over 33,000 students, 1,120 school teachers/staff and their communities.

Womanity is now leveraging its experience and success in these schools to introduce the Girls Can Code | Afghanistan program in two of its largest target schools.

You can help girls in Afghanistan imagine a better future - to become more than what the standards society sets for them. With your support, through an online donation to help fund these classes, we can affect real and lasting change for girls in Afghanistan for the years to come.

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