AkiraChix brings computer programming to all HHFL children

AkiraChix brings computer programming to all HHFL children

Written by Isaiah, HHFL’s IT and Admin Manager

We are so excited to share that all the kids at HHFL have been selected to be trained in coding and technology by AkiraChix, a Nairobi-based tech training company that focuses largely on creating women tech leaders.

We were first introduced to Akirachix in 2013 by one of our IBM Kenya friends, Mildred. Our friendship with IBM started when we partnered on a reading programme called Reading Companion. This programme helped our kids improve their English reading skills. We are proud to report that all our kids can read fluently because of it!

Over the years, we started sending between 5-10 HHFL young women to week long ICT boot camps run by friends of IBM Kenya, AkiraChix, during the school holidays.

During these camps, our young women were taught in graphic design, web design and coding.

After fantastic experiences (and several loud complaints by our “young men”), AkiraChix decided to extend their camp offering to HHFL boys as well and made us one of their training centres!

The passion exhibited by all our children moved AkiraChix to assign two trainers, Brenda and Susan, who come to HHFL every Saturday morning for 2 hours and teach all the HHFL kids.

The partnership is working so unbelievably well, and we are proud beyond words to say that all the children are plugged into computer programming – something that is so rare and unique for Kenya.

During the sessions, the kids are taught computer programming basics using MIT Scratch. They are taught how to use coding blocks to make simple programs, movies and instructions to interact with the computer and other computerized gadgets.

This exposure opens the doors for the children, boys and girls alike, to grow their love for technology. As they advance into deeper programming languages, they have an opportunity to shape their scientific minds, which will help them better tackle Math and Science in school.

Due to the number of our kids outnumbering the number of computers that can be accommodated in the computer lab, we have split the children into two groups – one for the juniors and another for the seniors. This way, everyone can participate and benefit.

Learning has been very easy with the availability of an LCD projector that we have mounted in the computer room and a white board that is sometimes used for writing.

I’d love to share some sentiments directly from the kids:

“The most interesting thing in the class was making the balloon pop when you make some movements in front of the camera. We only created one balloon from the sprites then duplicated it and changed their colours. We gave them motion, looks and created coding blocks for sensing” -Dedan Mwangi, 6th grade

“We were working on a project to create a dancer. We chose the sprites and gave the sprites instruction blocks from the scripts. We gave the dancer an urban backdrop which made our dancer make his dancing moves in the street!” – Michelle, 7th grade

“Scratch is fun and helps me to think and be creative” – Gerald, 5th grade

“I learned how make a computer game and also make a movie. In my game, you pick apples by clicking A or M on your computer. I made a movie about the Christmas celebration” – Dorothy, 6th grade.“

“I made a dancing squirrel from Scratch!” – Bernard, 4th grade

We are unbelievably grateful for the fruitful partnership our kids are enjoying with AkiraChix, and we hope that we may continue to impact more of their lives through this initiative many years to come.

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