Last November, Nondumiso woke up and found herself in California. It wasn’t luck and it wasn’t magic – though it felt like a bit of both, as this was the first time she had left her native South Africa.
Nondumiso was the winner of the 2019 GirlCode Hackathon in Cape Town and her prize was a trip to Los Angeles for the Wonder Women in Tech conference.
“California will go down as one of the best experiences I have ever had in my life. To be in a space with so many women in tech from all over the world was unbelievable and so inspiring.”
GirlCode is a nonprofit that is empowering South African girls and women through technology. Last year, Deloitte Africa partnered with GirlCode to host the hackathon for over 300 female IT students.
There, in the space of two days, Nondumiso and three friends built a chatbot to enable children in poorly connected areas to look for mathematical equations online.
“Our solution was designed specifically to help young people in South Africa - but also to be used by anyone, anywhere in the world. It aligned with my passion for improving the quality of education in my country.”
A perfect example of tech for good, designed by young women who really understand the lives of the children they are working to help.
But this is just the start for Nondumiso, who returned from LA hungry for more:
“Wonder Women in Tech has inspired us to keep doing what we love and, in turn, hopefully inspire other young women looking at this as a career path. Because of the opportunities we received through GirlCode and Deloitte, we hope to give back to our communities by teaching young girls to code, as well as using our skills to build solutions that are not only innovative but make a difference.”
Nondumiso remembers when she wrote her first line of code at university, and her excitement when she printed that first “Hello World!” command on the console. Her love for coding only grew from there.
This is a journey that GirlCode and Deloitte Africa would like to share with many other girls. So building on the success of this first year of collaboration, they are now exploring new ways to connect with many more students and positively impact their life chances through coding.
Teaching girls to code is empowering: a girl learning to code today can shape the world tomorrow. Nondumiso is living proof:
“My drive and desire to create tech solutions that will have a lasting impact on the disadvantaged in South Africa is one of the reasons I wake up in the morning. I am passionate and optimistic about what is possible for the future of South Africa using tech. This is not the last time you will hear from me!”