Founder Spotlight: Oluwadamilola Soyombo, The Creative Kids Zone
- Can we meet you?
I am Oluwadamilola Soyombo, a User Interface/ User Experience Designer, design educator, and podcaster. I am the Founder of The Creative Kids Zone, an initiative borne out of my desire to introduce many kids to technology and see them actively involved in shaping the future.
I’m loved by the creator of the universe, so naturally, everything I create comes out beautiful. I am passionate about all aspects of technology, and also speak and mentor those interested in learning Design whenever possible. I hope to share my knowledge by speaking at conferences around Africa and the world.
2. What prompted you to start the TCKZone?
Upon discovery that 6 out of 10 most successful tech leaders started coding before the age of 15, I launched The Creative Kids Zone to train kids in technology skills for free, thereby increasing the number of young minds in tech and preparing them for the future. Have a look at Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Mitchell Elegbe, Iyin Aboyeji, Mark Essien, etc.
It is believed that we are being launched into the fourth industrial revolution, and this digitization will consequently change the politics of jobs. There are new kinds of jobs that exist today that didn’t exist 10 years ago.
In another 10 years, who knows the new kinds of jobs that will be available, thanks to technology? You will agree with me that in the near future, most of the jobs we are familiar with presently would become digital and technology advanced so when our kids grow up, more than 60% of today’s jobs would be no more.
If this is going to be the case, why don’t we prepare the kids who are the leaders of tomorrow for tomorrow? If kids are the future and the future is technology, why don’t we train our kids in tech so they can impact our nations?
3. Interesting! How did you get people on board to work with you?
When I started, it was a bit sketchy, I wasn’t even sure what our mission or vision would be, but I went ahead to work on the branding and put up a website about the idea and what the motivation was.
I shared it with some friends and they loved the idea and wanted to be part of something that gives back to the community.
We then set out our objectives, mission, vision, milestones, etc. Thereafter, we made a call for volunteers on social media for people with a passion for kids and technology, and more people joined the TCKZone team.
4. The kids you tutored in communities that you are not present, how do you intend to follow up?
We have partnered with some STEM Organizations who also specialize in training kids further after the free one-day event we organize in a state/community. The kids are introduced to these organizations and they would be in charge of organizing further training for the kids if they pick interest in it.
We also plan to target more schools to hold our training. This way, it is easy to follow up with them afterward. A volunteer will be assigned to the school and would give a progress report from time to time. This volunteer can also create a tech club in the school and ensure continuous learning.
At the end of a TCKZone calendar year, an Exhibition Event would be organized for all Creative Kids from every of our Zone to showcase the projects they have been able to build after the training we had with them. There would be a lot of prizes to be won.
5. How old is TCKZone and where do you see TCKZone in the future?
The Creative Kids Zone is an initiative I launched to train kids in technology. I have nursed the idea in my heart for a while and decided to go ahead and launch it in May 2019.
Our first training event held on the 10th of August 2019 while the next was held on October 19th, 2019. We had over 20 kids who registered for the training. The response has been awesome and exciting, and we’ve only just started.
We intend to reach more kids in primary and secondary schools and keep training and creating opportunities for more and more of them across the country and then we’ll expand to other African countries eventually. It’s a huge project and I’m excited at the interesting journey that lies ahead of us. So we are open to partnerships and support from individuals and organizations.
6. What has been the most challenging task in putting together this organization?
The major challenges still remain that of finance and getting sponsorships and support. There are a lot more kids to reach at this time but we cannot do that. For instance, a school had about 100 kids and we were able to train only 22 in the practical session due to the limited number of computers they had available.
7. What do you have to say to those who aren’t tech-oriented?
When it comes to preparing your children for the future, there are few better ways to do so than to help them learn technology(coding, design, robotics and so on). Technology helps kids develop academic skills, build qualities like perseverance and organization, and gain valuable 21st-century skills that can even translate into a career.
We are clearly moving away from the nuts and bolts to a more digitized future, we need technical skills. We need to be able to create, maintain and present solutions to different societal problems and we’ve got to make it happen quickly and creatively.
I would like to encourage every young individual to start harnessing the power of technology. Your dreams could be bigger if only you open your mind to it.
Learn, develop yourself, your skills and of course tell God your plans so he can show you the best way to achieve it. You can be anything. You can build anything!