Imagine if the millions of people living in the slums of Dhaka were to become as qualified as the web developers in Silicon Valley, but could offer the same quality of work for 300 USD/month. It would reduce the IT costs for companies by more than ten times and would increase the average salary of a worker in Bangladesh by ten times. The world as a whole would be a lot better off.

Guess what? The United Nations Development Programme is now launching a crowdfunding campaign to prepare and integrate the most remote and disconnected parts of the world into the online freelance market with mobile IT classrooms dedicated to teaching coding and how to find work on the freelance market. A mobile classroom with computers and internet access is a modified refugee tent produced and delivered by Ikea’s Better Shelter project. The students start out their online careers as data-entry freelancers on Upwork, Freelancer and Fiverr where more than 45,000 new jobs are posted every week. When the students are not bidding for new projects or working for clients, they learn to code on sites such as Codecademy and Code School, which have already educated thousands of developers from Silicon Valley. Inspiring this new generation of online workers to pursue a career within technology, instead of working in the garment industry, is the legendary captain of the Bangladeshi Cricket Team, Mashrafe Mortaza.

The online programme is managed by the Danish venture-backed start-up called CodersTrust, which specialises in building a platform that evaluates the creditworthiness of the students and tracks their personalised “Learn & Earn” path, which has content from leading e-learning portals, 24/7 mentor support, daily live classes and a job aggregator to match students with freelance tasks from more than ten major portals. Based on the experience of CodersTrust from working with more than 1000+ students worldwide, it takes an average of 6 months to get from zero to 150 USD/month in online earnings and another 6 months to reach 300 USD/month as a web developer. From there, the average salary can go as high as 3,000 USD/month within 3 years.

“In this century, it is disconnectedness that defines danger and poverty. Eradicating disconnectedness is the defining security and development task of our age. CodersTrust is taking on this ultimate challenge of our generation to provide access to education, the labor market and a brighter future to people in disconnected parts of the world,” stated Ferdinand Kjaerulff, CEO of CodersTrust.

Currently, there are more than 200,000 freelance jobs available on more than 50 different portals worldwide. However, it takes an upfront investment of a laptop, access to the internet, and the right skill set to compete for these jobs. The mobile classroom creates a level playing field for young people in the slums, allowing them to study harder, work smarter and adapt to the online demand quicker than ever before. On the online freelance market, it doesn’t really matter where you are from or where you learned to code. What matters is that you can do the job. With the mobile classrooms and online courses that have pioneered new ways to teach tech skills in a fraction of the time and cost, it is now possible to reach the underserved communities in the disconnected parts of the world.

We hope to get more people excited about and involved in using these mobile classrooms to build a pipeline transporting tech workers from the slums of Dhaka into the new online economy. Join and follow the campaign on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/YouthEmploymentthroughSkills/?fref=ts



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