On August 3rd, 2019, CodeGirls has celebrated its 1st anniversary and 3rd graduation ceremony at 10Pearls, Karachi. The graduation ceremony was attended by the boot camp participants, trainers, mentors, sponsors, organizers, community leaders and friends of the program.
In the 3rd graduation ceremony, CodeGirls has graduated its Cohort 4 (Phase 1) and Cohort 1 (Phase 2), with 85 and 52 participants respectively. The ceremony started with a welcome note by Shamim Rajani (Founder – Consulnet Corporation, COO – Genetech Solutions). Firstly, she thanked everyone for showing up for the ceremony. Shamim gave an overview of the CodeGirls and shared a few lessons which they learned during the course of boot camp:
- In order to have a successful product, an agile mindset is required. Fail quickly, adjust your course and continue.
- Out of the 411 girls that we have graduated so far, over 100 are mothers. In the patriarchal culture that we have most girls grow up with the mindset that their father and then their husband is responsible for their financial needs. And usually, the husband’s salary is sufficient after marriage. It is when they bear children, that most of them realize that in order to provide quality education and upbringing to their children, they need to be an equalizer in the family. This is needed today more than ever, given the amount of inflation rate and the economic crisis in Pakistan.
- Mothers need to be around to nurture their children and thus they can’t do full day office jobs. When we presented the issue to our partners, a handful of companies offered their daycare service, while others offered flexible work hours and some even went to offering work from home opportunities. While we are ever so grateful, we are also confident that more companies will step up and create flexible jobs for these girls. We live in an era of virtualization and I feel that if we are to really embark on a successful mission to uplift our womenfolk, then we must create flexible jobs that match their needs.
In addition, she appreciated the hard work of Hasnain Bhai Walji, Faiza Yousuf, CodeGirls administrative team including trainers, mentors, and Genentech’s team for putting efforts and making this boot camp a game-changer for our society.
Her talk was followed by a video note from Dr. Hasnain Walji (Executive Director – United Global Initiative). He talked about the stats and numbers and how this program has impacted the lives of many. In this video note, he was happy to share the 80% success rate of CodeGirls, out of 514 enrolled participants, 411 participants have successfully completed the boot camp. He mentioned that almost half of enrolled participants have a family income below 50 thousand (PKR), whereas, after the completion of boot camp, these participants got job ranging between 10K to 40K. He thanked all the organizations who provide internship and employment opportunities to CodeGirls. He quoted, “More than half of Pakistan’s population comprises of women yet statistics show that only 22% of women take part in economic activity. This is the lowest rate of female labor forces in the South Asia region”. Therefore, they are looking forward to expanding the CodeGirls boot camp all across Pakistan. Furthermore, he advised everyone to don’t let others define you, instead what you think of yourself is what really matters most.
Three of CodeGirls alumni members shared their experience of overcoming obstacles to motivate and inspire the participants. They spoke about their experience of learning how to code and then finding their footing in the reputable software houses.
Mariam Mobin shared her success story. She discussed how she got admission at CodeGirls and turned out as a UI/UX Engineer(intern) at 10 Pearls. While giving her note, she thanked her trainers and mentors. She quoted “Women empowerment is a great incentive”. Whereas, Filza Mujtaba shared her struggles in managing the studies and CodeGirls boot camp. She discussed how non-tech workshops of CodeGirls is helping her and the people around her. Despite failures and not giving up, she successfully got a paid internship at Contour Software. Sana Fatima shared her story of getting enrolled in the program and now working with a software services company in Zurich remotely. She is a mother of two and finding a flexible and remote job was the only way she could pursue her career.
At the end of each cohort, participants have to work together to make group projects and they are graded based on their performance in the team project as well as class participation and individual viva. This time, top 2 project teams from Cohort 4 (Phase 1) and top 3 project teams from Cohort 1 (Phase 2) presented their work to the audience. The projects were related to website and game development, made using web technologies, WordPress, PHP, and NodeJS. Moreover, the projects and presentations were remarkable along with the explanation of the technology used and the overall working of the project.
Neelam Raheel gave a shout out to all sponsors and partners. The top 10 participants of Cohort 4 (Phase 1) received a brand new laptop and tablet, and the top 5 participants of Cohort 1 (Phase 2) received a new tablet.
Faiza Yousuf (Founder – WomenInTechPK, Co-founder – CodeGirls) presented a token of appreciation to all guests. Trainers and mentors of the program also received a memento of thanks and certificates for their tireless work and support for this initiative.
The program ended with the Cake Cutting Ceremony of CodeGirls 1st Anniversary. Faiza Yousuf, Shamim Rajani, and Munira Homayee along with the top 10 participants were honored to cut the cake.
Shamim Rajani concluded the ceremony by asking participants to network with their trainers, mentors and other guests. Also, she thanked the Genetech’s team working voluntarily for CodeGirls boot camp.
CodeGirls publishes an assessment report at every graduation ceremony and you can see Cohort 4’s assessment report here. If you want to become a patron to the program, please see our sponsorship proposal here.
Few highlights from the Graduation Ceremony:
Pictures from the Graduation Ceremony:
CodeGirls is a community-funded Coding and Business Skills boot camp, designed for girls/women to learn how to code and start and run their businesses. The program is in multiple phases and is changing 220 lives every four months. CodeGirls is run by ConsulNet Corporation, in partnership with United Global Initiative and WomenInTechPK along with their various local and international sponsors.
The CodeGirls is accepting applications for Phase 1 and 2 of their program!