By Birama Ndiaye (YES 2016-2017, Senegal, placed with ACES in Toledo, OH)
In celebration of International Women’s Day 2021, the YES alumni community in Senegal held a series on Instagram highlighting outstanding alumnae. Those featured shared how their YES program experience impacted them and helped them become who they are today.
Aita Mbaye (YES 2011-2012, Senegal, placed with AFS-USA in Cleveland Heights, OH), a Software Developer and Web Development Teacher at the Bakeli School of Technology, was one of the alumnae highlighted in the series. Since returning to Senegal, Aita has been a very active alumna in the YES alumni community. She has worked on several alumni projects, including helping at YES English Boot Camps and volunteering for the annual Christmas Gifts Drive supporting a local children’s hospital. Through her experience with the YES program, both on program and as an alumna, Aita has come to consider herself a woman’s empowerment advocate. She adds, “Women are underrepresented in the tech field in Senegal and around the world.” To close the gender gap and motivate more women to embrace technology, Aita created a community called “She Codes From 221.” This community of women coders gives its members a space to lift up, support, inspire, and motivate each other. Members of the group also encourage other local women to pursue careers in the tech industry by organizing boot camps, mentorship programs, and by acting as role models. Aita wants to make a lasting impact in her community through “She Codes From 221”, stating “I would like to stand for all types of injustice towards women. But especially for injustice in terms of matters ranging from equal pay to flexible working rights. I think that women should have the same opportunities as men.”
Aita was just one of many alumnae who were featured on the YES Senegal Alumni Instagram account for International Women’s Day 2021. Check out all their stories at @yesalumnisenegal on Instagram.