Coding While Black: This Namibian is Breaking Barriers and Stereotypes
If someone was to tell Hilya Kanyemba that she would be pursuing a career in computing 10 years ago, she would have laughed it off as a pipe dream. I am learning that the best entrepreneurs diverted from the route that society gave them. They took leaps and broke ground in areas they were scoffed at and discouraged to get into. This young woman from Namibia shares this story with many entrepreneurs the world over. Hilya is the founder of ICTEmpower, an organization that is working to close the gap in tech by empowering minorities to explore careers in computing.
Research has continuously shown that the tech world is still majorly male-dominated and people of color, especially women are hard to come by. Yes, when you think of the world’s tech geniuses, Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerburg come to mind. Empowerment and encouragement need to start at a grassroots level and as they say, Africa is where it’s at! ICT Empower runs a coding boot camp series as well as mentorship programs, all of which are designed to be inclusive and stepping stones for women and girls to pursue careers in computing.
In true social enterprise fashion, Hilya has garnered support from various community groups. The Masters of Computer Science student has managed to recruit volunteers and funding in an environment that requires serious grit to achieve results. Through financial support from the Python Software Foundation, ICT Empower has managed to run various boot camps. The community has also shown them support by making small donations to ICT Empower’s cause. The organization is currently running a t-shirt campaign that will serve as an awareness tool to enable greater inclusion in the tech world.
What does the future look like for ICT Empower? It certainly looks bright as the organization continues to partner with influential players in the game while scaling impact. It’s possible that their boot camps will transcend borders soon and Hilya’s dream of a world where discrimination does not exist and diversity and inclusion is in the mainstream is realized.
You can stay abreast with the work ICT Empower is doing and contact them through their official channels:
www.ictempower.com :Instagram- @ictempower :email@example.com