The SPROUT STORY: Opening a Wide Array of Opportunities for Underprivileged Youth
Rarely do 8-year-olds know what they want to do in the future, follow up on it. We were all that age once and you know I am right! But there is one exception. After an encounter with a Lithuanian man who had come to his American school to talk about Basketball for underprivileged youth in an African country called Zimbabwe, an 8-year-old Peter Kazickas went to his mother and announced, ” I am going to live in Zimbabwe one day.” Today, Peter is the co-founder of SPROUT Coding, a non-profit that seeks to empower youth through coding and personal development skills. The SPROUT Coding journey has been quite eventful and impressive, to say the least. From taking odd jobs in New York to raise money and teaching children how to code from under a tree in the high-density suburb of Dzivarasekwa to building 3 Innovation hubs in various neighborhoods in less than 2 years, theirs is a story for the history books!
SPROUT stands for Science Programming & Uncommon Technologies. As the SPROUT team puts it, it is important to leverage the power of technology to create educational and economic opportunity for ALL students. Through a comprehensive curriculum, students learn how to code while plowing back to the community by teaching younger children Computer Science. For three months, students work in pairs, learning fundamental computer programming logic through a project-based curriculum. The 2020 Cohort currently has 45 trainees, all of whom teach younger kids in Mufakose, Kuwadzana, and Dzivarasekwa from Monday to Friday. The organization’s policy of vertical hiring enables them to empower the youth already in their program. After a certain period of time, trainees can apply to become full-time SPROUT developers where they’ll be put on salary and work on live development projects for companies, some of whom go on to recruit them for permanent jobs.
Partnerships and networks have been a key ingredient in the growing success of SPROUT, which is a true reflection of what collaboration and persistence can achieve. One key partner is the New-York based top-rated mobile app development company, HubSpire. In addition to inviting the entire SPROUT team to join in on internal webinars where new technologies and their applications are explored, HubSpire has already hosted 4 SPROUT developers for advanced training in India. Social impact is at the heart of SPROUT’s operations and in order to increase their impact, the construction of another space in Mbare is in the works. Not so bad, right? For an organization that officially launched their after-school classes in October 2018, with 20 donated computers, co-founders Peter Kazickas, Clive Savanhu, and Norest Shenje have done incredibly well. The organization’s dream of building a non-profit tech company that delivers software globally and enables every young adult in the world to have access is certainly plausible.
To find out more about SPROUT Coding and contribute to their cause, visit https://sproutcoding.org/