Code to Inspire

Code to Inspire (CTI) is an after-school program founded by Fereshteh Forough in January of 2015. It is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit. CTI opened the first coding school for girls in Herat, Afghanistan in November of 2015. CTI currently provides a safe educational environment for 80 female students aged 15-25. We aim to educate Afghan women with in-demand programming skills, empower them to add unique value to their communities, and inspire them to strive for financial and social independence.

Here are some of the statistics that explain why this enterprise is so important today:

+ Nearly 7 million children are enrolled in schools, and around 37 percent, or 2.5 million, of them are girls.
+ As of 2014, 90% of residential areas have been taken under telecommunication and information coverage.
+ To date, there are 23.21 million mobile phone users in the country.
+ About 3 million people, or 10 percent of the population, have access to the Internet.
+ Women’s participation in the labor force has been rising steadily since 2001, reaching 19 percent in 2016.
+ 27.7% of the seats in parliament are held by women, including four ministries.

Code to Inspire currently teaches 80 female students between the ages of 14 and 25 in Herat, Afghanistan. Our mission includes:

+ Equality: Leveraging technology education to support women as they fight for their social, political, and economic equality.
+ Empowerment: To build skills that can compete in the global tech market, empowering our students financially and socially.
+ Change: As a role model for other young women, our students and graduates demonstrate that women are capable of adding value to their communities far beyond simple housework.

Through our program we address the following pain points in Afghan society:

+ Girls in Afghanistan don’t have safe places to study and learn.
+ Girls in Afghanistan don’t have employment opportunities especially in Technology.
+ Cultural stereotypes among conservative families and extremists make it difficult for a girl to get an education in Afghanistan.

We empower women by teaching them how to code and find work as web developers, virtually, anywhere in the world. This affords them the opportunity to earn much more than local wages and change their lives for the better while forwarding the Afghan Economy. Our goal is to empower our students to not only make a difference in the community but to become entrepreneurs. We understand that through providing girls a safe place to learn, they can not only set goals but achieve them and help empower other women and girls in tangible ways in generations to come. As computer coding is a global language, girls who otherwise would most likely not have the chance to connect with individuals outside of Afghanistan, now have a chance to do business with individuals around the world. Overall, we seek to encourage each student that she can not only be an entrepreneur but empower others.

The task is large but our students have already demonstrated progress in the skills they are learning. We hope to eventually open these safe educational environments for girls in cities throughout Afghanistan and one day also have an incubator where students who have gone through our program can again start their own companies and empower and enable other women to do the same.

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About the Author | Fereshteh Forough

Fereshteh Forough is the Founder and President of Code to Inspire, the first coding school for girls in Afghanistan. Fereshteh was born as an Afghan refugee in Iran. One year after the fall of Taliban, She moved to Herat, Afghanistan with her family. Her passion is to empower young women from Afghanistan by improving their technical literacy.

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