Spotlight on HHFL Women: Philomena the Technologist

Spotlight on HHFL Women: Philomena the Technologist

Written by Philomena, HHFL Post Secondary student

I am really excited to share with you that in January 2017, I was awarded a full scholarship by AkiraChix, a technology training company that educates and empowers women tech leaders.

Joining this technology training program is a dream come true for me. I am a single mom of one son and it is not easy for me since I am still young.  I never thought I would live the dream to further my studies.

The AkiraChix program is the first of its kind, not only in Kenya but also in Africa, as it is the only technology focused program that empowers only women.

We African women don’t normally think technology is a career path for us so this is why I’m so happy that I get a chance to prove all the girls out there in Kenya that it’s possible!

It was through the HHFL and AkiraChix partnership that I got invited for an interview late last year. There were so many women who came forward for the interview but only two of us were selected for the scholarship, which fully covers my tuition for the year and part of my transport and upkeep costs. I feel that I presented myself well but still I wouldn’t believe that I had been chosen.

It’s so amazing to be given an opportunity to pursue what you are passionate for. I just love web development!

At the end of my first semester, I had a chance to volunteer during the holiday program at HHFL, which is my home.

Every morning I took the kid’s roll call and instructed them on where to be – computer class, music class, English & Mathematics class or art class.

I ended up monitoring the computer class. It was a great experience getting to share with the kids some of the things I do at AkiraChix and motivate them to work hard and do their very best to achieve their goals. I love being a mentor for them.

At the end of my third term, I got an internship at Ushahidi, which is a company that uses their platform for election monitoring, crisis response and advocacy and human rights.

I had the unique opportunity to experience the Uchaguzi deployment which was used to monitor our Kenya’s 2017 elections. I also got to set up the Ushahidi platform. It was such a learning experience.

My supervisor was from Sweden and I was communicating with her through Skype and Slack. It was a great time and I got to experience what it feels like to work in a real business environment.

Currently, I am in my third semester and we are working on projects. We were assigned to one of five different teams and every team has a project they are working on. We started off with the ideation stage where every individual in each team had to come up with ideas and discuss if they are viable.

I have done several websites and I am working on my own website which I will publish soon so people can see what I have been working on since I joined AkiraChix.

Getting to see something I have worked on actually come out beautiful and my friends give it a thumps up is a dream come true!

I am excited to work hard and get a job when I graduate in order to support my son and mom.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart, HHF and all the kind donors around the world for supporting me through high school and helping me believe in myself the way I am starting to do!

Philomena the HHFL Technologist!

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