JavaScript, gaming? Wait. WHAT???

The focus of our recent trip was to collect data for reporting and monitoring of Studio Samuel’s life skills program, Training for Tomorrow.

We arrived in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, with much excitement to see the girls and our team, along with an open mind for the task at hand. We were fully prepared for this crucial assessment period, knowing results would be shaping the next steps of the program, while reflecting on all we’ve invested over the past 18 months.


#We jumped straight in with staff interviews, volunteer updates, monitoring class instruction, sitting in on a few lectures, student interviews and more. Reviewing my journal each night, I always smiled when seeing ‘VS’ (very satisfied) jotted down. A few ‘NH’s appeared (needs help) and my favorite, the ‘E’s (excelling) noted by a handful of students’ names.To note – between my ever-evolving self-crafted version of shorthand and my illegible handwriting, these journals are quite a sight. They’re also my bible, as I rely on them each night following our long days, once back in my room and prepping for the next.

So…after four days of digging, we were pleased to see data confirming programs were on a positive trajectory in most areas – and then we had our final meeting of the trip with our IT instructor who oversees computer programming. This was the big one.

Coding is our newest program and the one carrying significant potential, should all components come together. (translated: even if it’s a huge success within the walls of our training center, the question is: ‘How is the community responding to their girls being introduced to technology?’).

Journal in hand, a plethora of questions ready to roll and with much anticipation we sat down with our IT instructor. ‘…because your girls are now learning JavaScript, you may want to consider a separate class for incoming beginner-level students and possibly an advanced class for those students moving through the curriculum at a faster pace. All students have completed basic gaming and we typically see girls in the lab off-hours due to their excitement to have such a program.’ …There was much more but at this point, you get the gist of the meeting.

Female empowerment programs are the focus of many right now. If what is happening at our training center is happening around the globe, the world is about to see some serious change as these young women move into adulthood. Speaking on behalf of our girls, they’re carving out their future roles as strong, respected leaders within their community and doing it with such grace and dignity at each step.

Our students continue to impress me, as they welcome every aspect of the curriculum and take on every challenge in stride. They welcome it. Gaming? JavaScript? These are the voices their next generation needs to hear. Our students have lost their friends to child marriage, trafficking, child labor and more. They’re hungry for opportunity and options.
#conservelife #TrainingForTomorrow #LetGirlsLearn

Selamun Yabzalachihu,

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