By Labiba Manzur (YES 2019-2020, Bangladesh, placed with AFS-USA in Portland, OR)
SheCodes is a technological skill development and empowerment project for high school students all over Bangladesh. Our main goal is to increase the number of female participants in different programming contests and to inspire them to pursue computer science as a career in the long run.
We have partnered up with a non-profit organization called Bangladesh Open Source Network (Bd-OSN). Bd-OSN has provided us with professional trainers and have also helped us publicize our project by reaching out to participants via their Facebook Page.
During the first online Zoom session, we trained the girls on the most widely used computer programming languages: C and C++. Syed Rubab Redwan and Mamnoon Siam were present as trainers. They shared strategies for competitive computer programming, updates, and other relevant information on future programming contests with the participants. The SheCodes Online Programming Contest took place the following day, where the participants got to put their computer programming knowledge to the test. We had around 30 participants in the contest and we mailed physical certificates and medals to the top five scorers of the contest.
On the last day of the online workshop, we invited inspiring women with successful programming careers from renowned organizations like Google and BRAC to speak. They talked about several different topics, ranging from the importance of programming in today's world to their experiences working in the Computer Science field as women.
"There are no shortcuts to excellence," Lafifa Jamal, Professor at Department of Robotics and Mechatronics Engineering at the University of Dhaka said. The speakers’ stories of overcoming every obstacle that came their way left the participants feeling utterly inspired.
In the future, we look forward to organizing a physical version of this project. We hope to build a programming-loving community for the girls where they will get primary knowledge about programming and learn about the different programming contests like the Inter-School and College Programming Contest (ISCPC).