Refugee coding class gives hope to those forced to leave their homes

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Ten days before civil war broke out in Yemen in 2015, Khaled Abdulghaffar left on a boat for India where he obtained an engineering scholarship at a school in Chennai. In September last year, as fighting erupted in Yemen, Abdulghaffar visited the UK

Almost two years later, Abdulghaffar begins coding at the UK’s first coding school for refugees, skills that could lay the groundwork for a job like Facebook or Google.

“I had been interested in programming for a long time, but I didn’t know where to start or what to do with it. It doesn’t limit you. As long as you have this skill, you can work anywhere, no. matter when you want, “Abdulghaffar told CNBC in an interview Monday.

Code Your Future runs its weekend classes in London and Glasgow, Scotland. It was founded in October 2016 by German Bencci while he was working at Samsung. Bencci left Samsung in February to devote himself full time to Code Your Future.

The project involves developers from the tech industry to volunteer their time to teach.

Students during one of the Code Your Future sessions.

Code your future

“The tech industry expresses its desire to do more to support the refugee crisis. But I hadn’t seen a clear and tangible way of doing something to alleviate the problem,” Bencci explained, speaking of his motivation. behind the implementation of Code Your Futur.

“So it’s a great idea to have a tangible impact and direct influence by training refugees in one of the skills most in demand in society today.”

The first six-month course took place from October 2016 and had 9 students. Code Your Future is now in its second cohort of students, but those in the first group are starting to find jobs.

Ansi Arockia left India in 2011 and arrived in the UK following family difficulties, which she did not wish to expand on due to the sensitivity of the subject. In India, she studied engineering and computer science at university. But she couldn’t find a job in Britain because many were asking for experience she didn’t have.

She took the Code Your Future course after seeing an ad from the Refugee Council charity. After completing the course, Ansi got an apprenticeship at We Got Pop, a technology platform for the film industry that allows production companies to manage and pay staff.

“It’s my second week now. It’s really good, I’m learning new coding languages ​​and they really support me. I’m not that nervous,” Ansi told CNBC in a phone interview Monday.

The coding class gives hope to many refugees. Abdulghaffar said he was wanted by government-backed forces in Yemen and would not return because he could be killed. He has only spoken to his parents twice since leaving in 2015. But he is considering the opportunities his new skills could offer him.

“I hope when I finish I will become self-employed and find a job. The main thing to find a job is to learn, money doesn’t matter. Even if they didn’t pay us. all, I would be happy to get an internship, ”said Abdulghaffar.


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