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.
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!
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 – three letters we all know to refer to tender loving care. ULYP’s new program, TLC (Together Let’s Code), offers this and more. Through TLC we work with marginalized girls providing them with coding and IT skills. But what is coding? Why girls? Why 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.) In simple terms, coding is what makes it possible to create computer software, apps and websites, a few of the elements of most of our daily lives. Coding is quickly picking up speed and entering the vocabulary of children, teachers, businesses and most recently, funders. To code or not to code, is not a question to ask. The future is coding and the future starts now. Around the world, females are a minority in the tech industry as evidenced in the low percentages of female employees at Yahoo and Google (38% and 30% respectively), the largest Tech companies in our world today. This low percentage is also evidenced in the shrinking numbers of girls who see computer science as part of their future. ULYP seeks to change this and prepare the girls of today to lead the digital world of tomorrow.
TLC was launched this spring with thirty 8-14 years old girls gaining the tools and encouragement to unlock their talents and explore future possibilities in the world of IT. Over one year, a total of 105 underprivileged girls will receive training in basic computer skills, coding and conflict resolution along with a lot of inspiration, motivation and empowerment. By the end of the program, each girl will learn how to build her own program and will create a simple game with characters and objects of her choice. In addition, the girls will have better knowledge of human rights, conflict resolution, and mutual respect and understanding, and will themselves see how this affects their daily lives. TLC introduces disadvantaged girls to coding and reinforces basic computer skills, inspiring them to reach for new possibilities so they can become the digital designers of tomorrow!
TLC is funded by a grant from Microsoft YouthSpark.