The story of a girl passionate about ICT

Hello World!_ Workshop

Despite the crisis we are experiencing in my country Syria, I believe that it is essential to focus on our objectives in order to make sure we stay on the right track.

It was this hope that kept me going from the day I decided to pursue my passion until today. I am Bayan, a girl from Homs city. From childhood, I have been interested in computer science and my dream was to specialize in Computer Engineering after graduating from high school. Unfortunately, I did not obtain a high school score high enough to join the Faculty of Informatics.

Regardless, I did not stop going after what I always wanted. I applied to the Higher Institute of Computer Science, and after two years, I was able to graduate top of my class. This gave me the chance to fulfil my dream and join the Computer Engineering Department in the Faculty of Informatics.

I am a person with a lot of dreams, and in addition to fulfilling my academic ambitions, I had another objective. In 2014 I was a participant in the International Collegiate Programming contest (ICPC), and this grew my love for programming and gave me the courage to go deeper in this area, that I wished I could have learned it earlier in my life. As a result, I decided to provide adolescents with the chance to know about programming and explore this magnificent part of science.

My first experience as a programming trainer started in 2014, with local NGOs here in my city. Later the courses led me to launch an initiative called "Hello World" with AlBirr NGO. This initiative included workshops to introduce programming, algorithms, and the creation of websites and mobile applications. I’ve trained over 500 young girls and boys during the past five years in various topics like-programming, web design, ICDL, Robotics and logical thinking. I also participated in a programming contest as a media member, media director and organizer for the Syrian Programming contest. For me, programming is a unique method of thinking about normal life.

Along my journey, I’ve faced various obstacles and barriers, like the small, almost-absent, female staff working in the IT field; only two female contestants, me and another member, participated during the programming contest. It hasn’t been easy working with an all-male crowd, but this obstacle has made me more determined to reach as many girls as possible. However, it is hard work to promote technology and programming in conditions where living requirements are hard to come by. I’ve also had to deal with much discouragement and discrediting, and while all the negativity certainly took its toll on me, it did not stop me from pressing on towards my goals.

I believe that my journey has only just started and my ambition continues to grow from day to day. I want to inspire as many individuals as possible, and to help them learn programming in the early stages of their lives because it has the same level of importance as any other regular subject taught at school.

Lately, training mothers has been a new goal for me due to the great role mothers play in their children's lives. I believe that in the future those who do not have the basics of programming will be like those who do not know how to write or read.

Nobody needs to be a genius to learn programming; the key is to train the mind just like training any other muscle in the body.
Syrian Arab Republic