By Bart Huylebroeck
The digital revolution is a revolution filled with opportunities. Companies everywhere have difficulties staffing their IT-departments. Teaching digital skills to the next generation is not only fun, it enlarges their understanding of technology, makes them more resilient to the challenges of the future and makes them more attractive on the job market.
|CoderDojo 4 Divas|
The same applies to underprivileged kids. They often haven’t got the means to pick up digital skills at home and in a digital society, this implies a significant backlog on their peers. On the other hand, digitals skills can open the door for them to a well payed job or simply hand them the tools to create more opportunities for themselves.
Alexander De Croo had a similar idea. He helped start the "Digital Belgium Skills Fund" (or the DBSF, if you're in the know) with the specific goal to reach out to socially vulnerable youths and provide them with digital skills which will help them with social inclusion as well as economic independence.
2017 was the first year the DBSF awarded subsidies, and CoderDojo was one of the first to request and receive monetary support. This allowed us to hire Sarah Verhasselt and initiate a number of cooperations and some pop-ups. We've done the second edition of CoderDojo4Divas and planted it in a very diverse neighborhood with the goal of attracting not just any girls, but preferably girls with a migration background. We also had a number of other pop-ups, and started a more permanent cooperation with BeCode, who would target diverse youths in Brussels city. A number of existing Dojo's spend extra time and effort to reach more than just middle-class children, and we're happy to help them in any way we can.
Now, in 2018, we were again fortunate to receive funding by the DBSF, again with the goal of digital inclusion for everyone. Sarah has left us, but I'm filling in for her and we also have a job opening so we can put some extra effort into the DBSF track.
I said " DBSF track", but that's a pretty lame name, we needed to find a more CoderDojo-like name. It was CoderDojo, but it was for everyone... we didn't need to search long: CoderDojo4All was born!
If you would like to do something special to include more groups of people, I'd love to hear from you. Give me a shout. Or mail, or call...