Teaching girls coding in Homs — and elsewhere

Sometimes you do something and it works pretty well — so you do it again, and maybe try and add something to it. Before you know it…

And that’s how we’re feeling about our recent coding workshop in Homs, Syria.

Now, we’re perfectly well aware that many people in Homs have more basic needs than coding, but we’re also very keen that there’s ways to help people build long-term futures. And if we can help young girls shift their horizons and see a future in the kind of work that will offer opportunities in a 21st Century economy, then we’re winning.

The workshop in Syria was in partnership with IT-Advice and Techfugees, and took place at the end of October. It was, we can modestly say, a huge success, as girls were given their first introduction to learning professional coding languages, e.g. HTML.

Here is what Sara, aged 14, said about the game (and watch the video here):

“I​ ​had​ ​never​ ​coded​ ​before​ ​playing​ ​Erase​ ​All​ ​Kittens.​ ​I​ ​expected​ ​it​ ​to​ ​be​ ​difficult,​ ​boring​ ​and complicated,​ ​but​ ​now​ ​it​ ​seems​ ​fun​ ​and​ ​easy​ ​-​ ​the​ ​game​ ​was​ ​great!​ ​If​ ​coding​ ​was​ ​taught​ ​in​ ​this way,​ ​I’d​ ​like​ ​to​ ​learn​ ​more.​ ​My​ ​friends​ ​have​ ​no​ ​interest​ ​in​ ​code​ ​education​ ​and​ ​it​ ​isn’t​ ​taught​ ​at school​ ​-​ ​but​ ​Erase​ ​All​ ​Kittens​ ​is​ ​funny,​ ​and​ ​easy​ ​for​ ​beginners.​ ​I​ ​love​ ​this​ ​game.”

So now we’re inspired, and we’re looking to replicate the model, in Homs for sure, but also closer to home, and we want to start organising coding workshops for underprivileged girls in London.

We’re thinking of the E.A.K. Academy for Girls, consisting of coding workshops, inspirational talks by female role-models, and mini hackathons, where girls are given an introduction to practical coding languages via the game, inspired by other women in tech, and are encouraged to brainstorm ideas to help solve global issues.

We’re planning this out for launching next year and we’ll need partners. We’ll talk more about it in the new year, but if you’d like to get involved at the very beginning, please get in touch!

And whatever you do, don’t forget our Kickstarter campaign, to build a more gamified iPad version of Erase All Kittens with the award-winning agency, PlayerThree. We’re past the halfway point for our financial target, but we need more support — so please make a pledge and share the project as widely as you can.

Thanks so much,

From Team E.A.K.