Code To Inspire is a tech based non-profit which is empowering and educating women in Afghanistan.
App and software development is at the forefront of the studies but, with this, comes a sense of achievement and possibility the likes of which many Afghani women have not experienced.
Code To Inspire was established by Fereshteh Forough, a social entrepreneur. Her vision and drive took her to Berlin, where she got a Master’s degree in computer science at the Technical University.
Following her graduation, she made her way back to Afghanistan to teach in the city of Herat, in western Afghanistan. Whilst teaching here, she set up the Digital Citizen Fund (formerly known as the Women’s Annex Foundation). This initiative established women’s computer labs, but also paved the way to setting up her current venture.
It was here that she established Code To Inspire. The programme was specifically aimed at women between the ages of 15 and 25,
Teaching young women how to code offers not only technical skills, but also provides social elements and employment prospects. As a result of the programme, Forough has been asked to speak at events all over the world.
Forough was invited to be a guest speaker at the annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative in New York City, where she conversed with astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson.
“I think technology and education are the best way for women empowerment and helping them to step into the new world,” Forough explained to Tyson.
The schools, she added, are about much more than coding.
“It’s also about how to increase your self-esteem, to present your idea and be more outspoken. That’s why it’s only for women. It’s the only place they feel relaxed comfortable, they can enjoy and ask any question they want and be innovative.”
“The beauty of coding and tech is that it doesn’t matter who you are or where you are – with one computer and the internet they can reach the world and work without even leaving the house,” Forough told The Guardian, adding that “Education for women is still a very sensitive topic, it is a very male-dominated culture.”
Innovative and progressive startups such as this could spell a new chapter for women in countries such as Afghanistan. Once thing is for certain, however, the future for the Code To Inspire students is certainly a lot brighter, thanks to Forough’s efforts.
The Code To Inspire YouTube page tells more of the origin story of the company.