Learning Without Barriers

by Nishka Mathur in London, England, United Kingdom

Learning Without Barriers

£3,150

raised of £2,000 stretch target

35

supporters
158% 3 days left
This project will only be funded if at least £1,250 is pledged by 22nd September 2020 at 7:57pm

I hope to raise money to fund lending library-style computer / STEM kits for girls in the rural schools I worked with in India last summer.

by Nishka Mathur in London, England, United Kingdom

New stretch target

If I achieve my stretch target or even more, I will increase the number of computing units.


Hello, I am Nishka! Thank you for stopping by my fundraiser page.

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About me:

I am 15 years old and passionate about tech literacy for young people, especially girls, from disadvantaged communities. Over the past two and half years I have designed and delivered around 40 coding workshops, directly interacting with roughly 1000 participants, and have helped set up several code clubs by mentoring other young people.

I am lucky to be a recipient of The Diana Award 2020 and be chosen as a finalist in the Education category by Tech4Good Awards 2020. 

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My aims:

My initial target is to raise £1250 to fund 10 Raspberry Pi-powered computing units. In case it gets exceeded, the number of units will increase correspondingly.

While running workshops and interacting with young girls like me in rural schools in Tamil Nadu in south India, I realised that they are bright and eager to learn, but do not have access to resources that can help them sustain learning. This is both due to their inability to afford even basic material and the fact that as girls they are not high priority for the society they live in. They need proper tech equipment if they want to continue to learn coding, and master these valuable skills. These skills are especially vital in the post-pandemic workplace that we will face in the years to come. The ability to fit into new careers will open up new possibilities for them and enable financial independence. This is why I want to provide computer units for them.1598380328_isha1.jpg

The computers will be made available to their schools, from where they can borrow the units for a term, lending library-style.

Each unit consists of a Raspberry Pi 4, an internet dongle and connection, a bluetooth keyboard and mouse and a memory card. (The student's television set at home will serve as the monitor). The total cost of each unit is £125 (approximately INR 12,500).

This is a pilot project, which I hope to scale up later. I will work with Timeless Life Skills to take it further.  

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My inspiration:

When I lived in India, I often visited an orphanage for abandoned girls,  as my mother volunteered with the charity that ran it. I played with the girls there and eventually realised that their mothers, illiterate and unskilled and unable to provide for them, had been forced by their families to abandon them. I noticed that my mother and her friends who were educated and financially independent had far more control over what they did.

Inspired by the charity’s programmes to teach women economically desirable skills, I realised that teaching tech skills to underprivileged girls would give them financial empowerment, social autonomy and better lives.1598305703_aarti2.jpg

This is why I started to run inclusive workshops to introduce young people to coding during my holidays and spare time, adapting the content based on the audience. I work with girls in schools and orphanages in remote rural areas of India, school girls in deprived parts of London, and physically disabled youth. As well as providing workshops, I give talks and mentor local young people and help set up code clubs in order to encourage more girls to embrace coding, technology and STEM.

Young people, especially girls, feel inspired seeing someone like themselves being comfortable and confident with coding and STEM, and this influences their choices  and makes it more accessible to them. I have had to overcome challenges around poor internet availability, power cuts, intense heat and language barriers when running workshops in India. I have realised that if there is the will to teach and a wish to learn, these barriers are not daunting.

Please donate generously, thank you!

Nishka

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