At ULYP, TLC also stands for Together Lets Code, a program it had developed four years ago to offer young females the opportunity to believe in themselves and their technology skills. This year, and in partnership with Theirworld, TLC continued to be successful in its mission and taught 150 girls ages 10 – 15 from marginalized Lebanese communities along with their peers from Palestinian and Syrian refugee communities. Divided into three code clubs, each cohort learned how to code, working on Minecraft, Scratch and computing algorithms. These coding clubs also include ULYP’s sessions on life skills, swimming, cooking and other activities that are contributing to not only enriching their education, but also giving them an opportunity to explore new passions and make new friendships.
“I thought it would be very hard, but quickly realized that coding and programming are so simple, especially with all the help and support that I was lucky to have. It helps us in any field we wish to pursue” Malak H., 15 years
“I didn’t expect it to be that interesting for me!” Nour I., 13 years
ULYP is pleased to announce that the partnership with TheirWorld is back for the third year in a row. In 2015, when ULYP piloted its first ever coding program to females only, the project document started as follows: To code or not to code is not a question to ask. The future is coding and the future starts now. “Coding is a new literacy, and it gives people the potential to create, innovate and quite literally change the world.” (Susan Wojcicki, CEO of YouTube and early Google employee). Since then, ULYP has implemented the program supported by different donors, scaling it up to be more effective and impactful. As of 2017, when ULYP partnered with TheirWorld for the first time, the program morphed into the TLC Code Clubs and now follows the curriculum developed by TheirWorld. The implemented joint program continues to validate that coding is not only a much-needed technological skill; it is also a tool used to foster creativity, problem solving, collaboration, communication and other personal attributes that are all byproducts of the TLC Code Clubs. The participants in the TLC Code Clubs 2019 are 150-156 females, aged 10-15, from underprivileged and refugee communities living in Lebanon. Stay tuned!
“It’s inspiring, motivating, and fun!” One of the girls commented when asked about her experience with TLC, the Together Let’s Code program, in collaboration with TheirWorld’s Code Clubs. Throughout a series of coding sessions, middle-school girls had the chance to become more familiar with computers, including learning all about hardware and software. They were able to write their own programs; coding a piece of art, and even a piece of music! The girls also learned how to integrate the basic concepts of coding into their daily lives, such as how keeping it simple and following exact instructions allows us to organize parts of our lives.
TLC Code Club not only provides computer programming knowledge, but it also inspires the girls, improving their self-confidence, team building and creativity. Expert sessions fortify and strengthen these skills and draw attention to ideas like the celebration of diversity, nourishing and taking care of our bodies, nutrition and mental health. The girls really enjoyed the activities and supported each other throughout.
TLC Code Club is funded by TheirWorld
Mira has been a very active and enthusiastic volunteer with ULYP, dedicating her time to the Together Let’s Code (TLC) program. She has shared with us her experiences as a volunteer, particularly when looking at how online images can affect body image and self-confidence:
“When I first joined the program, I was asking myself about the importance of these sessions in helping young girls entering the digital world. Whether the girls would be interested in discussing “body image” and “self-confidence” at this young age, and how to convince them that being healthy is more important than being perfect.
I AM WORTH IT!
Shortly after starting my first session, I was amazed by all the energy and interaction present in the classroom. We started our activities and discussions with the sole objective of turning the negative thoughts about ourselves into positive ones, turning flaws into unique traits. We concluded that being healthy by exercising and eating well is far more important than being perfect and looking like the girls in the magazines.
The best part was sharing our dreams and respecting those dreams regardless of all the barriers imposed by the society, especially on girls. Girls are here to lift each other and boost their confidence. Sparkling eyes and heart-warming smiles when talking about dreams and giving each other positive comments were my biggest reward!”
Malak started TLC Code Club in February with very little exposure to computers or the English language. Her education has been interrupted since her family fled their home in Syria, but she has sought out opportunities to continue studying even outside the formal system. TLC Code Club has been an exciting opportunity for her to learn about computers and coding for the first time. Although Malak initially found it challenging to work with the Kano Kits, her persistence and excitement to learn meant she never gave up. With the support of her peers and the TLC team, Malak is already much more confident and skillful when using computers. This opportunity to not just access a computer, but to learn how it is built and how to code, is “life-changing,” as she describes it!
Building each other up: according to our TLC participants, “That’s just what girls do.” Through a series of coding and computing workshops, 100 middle-school girls transform from computer novices into aficionadas, becoming familiar with both hardware and software. They study the fundamentals of coding, then convert their new knowledge into making art, music, logos and virtual worlds. The girls also apply their lessons to the real, ‘offline’ world – for example, by realizing how following exact instructions helps avoid missteps!
TLC Code Club empowers girls by exposing them to and training them in a cutting-edge field from which they are often excluded, boosting their ambition, confidence, conflict-resolution and creativity. Expert sessions reinforce these skills and emphasize celebrating diversity and staying healthy through good body image, nutrition and exercise. Just as importantly, the girls balance their many accomplishments with supporting and appreciating each other!
TLC Code Club is funded by TheirWorld.
The weeks added up quickly and we have reached the end of the Math4Success program. From singing songs about order of mathematical operations to drawing a robot and finding its perimeter, 129 students engaged in fun and interactive activities that connected math with the world around them. Math4Success supports student learning by providing additional instruction on topics they are covering in school. One mother said, “My son’s teacher was shocked when he already knew the concepts at the beginning of a new unit in school. He is ahead of other students in the class because of what he is learning at Math4Success!”
Students also saw the application of math to coding as they completed tasks and created their own games. At the conclusion of the program, 129 students became teachers as they taught their peers math concepts using computer games that they coded. The program was a great success, and future students will continue to benefit thanks to a Training of Teachers (TOT) and the provision of equipment to the participating schools. The Math4Success program is part of Towards Inclusive Education, supported by UNICEF and in partnership with Terre des Hommes Italia.
Math4Success is about to begin its second semester. We are excited to see 120 new students actively learning math and coding before working to disseminate independently coded games to their fellow students. The peer-to-peer learning we saw in the first semester was amazing, and we look forward to seeing what our new students will create and share.
The Math4Success program is part of Towards Inclusive Education, supported by UNICEF and in partnership with Terre des Hommes Italia.
Can you imagine learning to code computer games, make short films, curate carefully constructed artwork, and make music through code on a computer that you constructed yourself in one program? Sound tricky? Well, the 45 girls in the TLC Code Club did just that! They imagined, created and graduated with flying colors.
The program engaged girls in a series of holistic coding and computing workshops and – as per ULYP’s mission statement – worked with experts to deliver life skills sessions on team building, conflict resolution, confidence and decision making.
Jana Daoud, an alumna of the program, said that the combination of both computing and life skills sessions in one program was amazing. She not only learned how to solve her problems, but also gained the confidence to stand up and believe in her own abilities.
TLC Code Club is funded by Theirworld
TLC Code Club is funded by Theirworld.
“Teaching is the highest form of understanding” – Aristotle
Math4Success is a new program guided by the principle that the best way for students to really learn something is to teach it themselves. Sixty middle school students and their four teachers have successfully completed the eight-week program, which presents the link between math and life, and reteaches main math concepts. Students learn through interactive methods that bring math to life inside and outside the classroom. They also learn how to code, and by the end of the program are able to code a game that demonstrates one of the math concepts they have learned. A peer-to-peer session requires the children to master the math concepts and develop the game with the aim of teaching it to their classmates, giving them the opportunity to lead the learning process.
We are halfway through the second module of the program with sixty new participants, which includes sessions at the ULYP campus in Dibbiyeh and the participating schools. The Math4Success program is part of Towards Inclusive Education, supported by UNICEF and in partnership with Terre des Hommes Italia. One mother whose child attends the program said that “now that I learned about your methodology, I finally understand why my child wakes up with no problem and gets ready so fast on the day he knows he has your program.”