The African Centre for Women Information and Communications Technology (ACWICT) was joined by a team from Microsoft Skills4Africa program in training a total of 100 vulnerable children from ABC Children’s Home in Mathare aged 10 – 15yrs on an Hour of Code. The aim of the training was to demystify computer science and encourage the children to code.
ABC Children’s Home, Mathare is a charity organization that houses 400 vulnerable children some of whom were rescued from the streets, others are either partial/total orphans, and others are from families that live below the poverty level.
Upon arrival we had a brief opening ceremony to acquit ourselves with the Administration of the school and the children selected for training. We were cordially welcomed by Mr. Mike Ouma, ABC Children’s Home Public Relations Officer who invited to address the students.
We had remarks from Mr. Alex Nyingi, Microsoft East and Southern Africa, Corporate Social Investment Manager, who informed the children on the basis of the visit and the need to learn computer science at their early ages.
“We want you to start learning a new language, which is the computer language. We live in a dynamic digital age and by learning computer programing skills you will also in the future develop a software that will transform your lives,” he said.
The team from Microsoft Skills4Africa also reinforced the children’s need to learn how to code.
Margo Connors, from Microsoft Skills4Africa said, “When you learn the computer language you can’t fail. Today we learn coding through a gaming session, the computer will keep asking you questions until you answer correctly.”
“There are no grades, just have fun, solve the problems, and remember all of you can code,” she added.
The 100 students were divided into groups of 50 students 10 – 12yrs and 50 students 13 -15 yrs and they were all trained on both online coding through playing The Star Wars games and offline through The Graph Paper Coding.
The students enjoyed both sessions with a majority completing the games.
Ms. Alice Mbui, a trainer from ACWICT said, “The minute you place the computers in front of the students they quickly went hands on, the curiosity of the mind was very active, and our role was to assist and encourage them go through the challenges they encountered.”
It was agreed that introducing the children to computer programing skills at an early age exposes them to vast opportunities digital technology provides. And therefore there was the need to continue with the Hour of Code training so as to reach the students who were not trained on that day and to also give support to the trained ones.
Microsoft Skills4Africa team was very impressed with the manner in which ACWICT trainers handled the students and the session. They were very proud to be associated with the trainers and declared the Hour of Code training a success.