“Elizabeth has been to India – say hi!”
“Hey, would you like to go teaching in India?”
“Great, we’re starting a course tomorrow in London, come meet us.”
The adventure started at Women Hack for Non-Profits, after a 5 minute conversation about teaching and India; two topics close to my heart. So despite promising myself a break from teaching I began an 11 week course with 23 Code Street. In London.
23 Code Street is a professional course teaching web development in London. For every paying student in London, the school teaches a disadvantaged woman in India. Not only this but the course is a safe space for women to come together to learn not only web development but tasters in other skills around the industry like user experience. It’s a community of alumni to build their network, share resources and build their online portfolios together using Open Source Github projects.
I taught the course because I really wanted to return to India. Yet underlying that, the school was tackling an issue I want to fight strongly for. As a woman in technology, the Women in tech argument has become one we feel automatically signed up to battle. Speaking opportunities after the next invite us to share our tales from the trenches of being a female engineer. Not only did this school realise there is a gender diversity issue in the industry, there was also an issue with a lack of different cultures and class. Diversity for me is about the cultural differences every person brings to the table.
Another reason I taught the course didn’t hit me until I received my thank you card at the very end.
“Thank you for all your incredible work with 23 CS and for believing in it and having the faith in me”
A benefit of being slightly narcissistic is the tendency to see the good in people around me. Anisah, who is the founder, had the passion, excitement and this insistence to make the course happen. You don’t say no to someone with the drive Anisah has for this project.
It’s not a secret that there are similar schools out there in the tech industry, specifically about programming. What 23 Code Street offers though is an enriched and personal learning experience. The school promotes a positive culture around healthy eating (except birthday cake) and building a safe space to encourage anyone to ask the “stupid questions”, or take lead of a subject they’re strong in.
Not only does 23 Code Street provide opportunities for students moving into the tech industry, it offers instructors the platform to use their skills to make an impact. As an instructor I will be joining the force in Mumbai, teaching disadvantaged women in the Dharavi slum; one of the largest in the world. While I am finally taking my break from teaching (in England), this is just the first adventure of many with 23 Code Street.
Post by Elizabeth Chesters, First Cohort Teacher.