To celebrate International Day of Charity on 5th September, a cross-border digital payments service, WorldRemit, recognises two non-profit organisations that are championing digital education worldwide to inspire others to use their skills for good.
Coderoots, a non-profit founded by Zaira Rasool, Software Engineer at WorldRemit, is dedicated to creating sustainable solutions to digital access and tech education for young talent in Africa. The charity was recently awarded £5,000 through WorldRemit’s Catherine Wines bursary, which was created in memory of the late co-founder of the fintech company.
Speaking on how she has used her skills in software engineering to create positive change globally, Rasool says: “Coderoots is made up of a diverse group of people with different roles and skill sets across tech, business and nonprofits, but we all share the same value and mission: to create opportunities and develop tech in the places that have least access to basic technology.
“Skills like coding are a powerful tool for social mobility. I myself was able to take advantage of this after being awarded a fully-funded place to attend my coding bootcamp, which would have otherwise been unaffordable. During COVID, we have seen how essential access to technology is for all aspects of life, and that those working in tech are the privileged few who hold the knowledge to create the change that is needed. It is therefore our responsibility to create that change.
“One thing we really champion at Coderoots is the value of mentors. We provide mentorship to young people and staff in The Gambia, offering them the chance to connect with someone who can help teach them valuable skills that they can use to create long-term change in their communities. All you need to do to be a mentor is have the time to dedicate each week, along with a passion for helping others to learn and grow, so it’s a really accessible way of using your tech skills for good. And for those who are really keen – you can visit The Gambia to support developing exciting new tech ideas we have brewing!”
With years’ of experience working within grassroots organisations, Zaira found a love for coding after attending workshops with codebar, a charity that runs coding workshops for under-represented communities.
Having started in London in 2013, codebar now has 28 chapters worldwide, including groups in Nairobi, Shanghai and across America.
Kimberley Cook, Director at codebar, shares how nonprofits and charities are driving positive changes in tech worldwide: “Several years ago ‘tech’ was just considered to be websites. Now it is everywhere you look – cars, hoovers, TVs – even fridges and washing machines. The technology industry is moving at such a fast pace, so the demand for developers is incredibly high. But, the barrier to entry is still hard to overcome. That’s why charities like codebar are allowing adults to access free programming workshops without having to commit to a degree or bootcamp, which are time consuming and costly.”
Cook concludes: “Everyone has a skill that a charity or non-profit could benefit from. Whether it’s designing, marketing, illustrating, copywriting or social media. I encourage everyone, regardless of age and profession, to find a cause or charity whose mission and work aligns with their interests, and get in touch. Start with a simple email outlining your skills and desired level of commitment and soon enough you’ll be on your way to making positive change in the world.”