By: Zandria Johnson
CodeToHope’s focus has been on the underprivileged communities in West Africa, but that didn’t prevent CodeToHope volunteers Caroline Caetano and Claudio Salas from using their passion and hunger to help students in technology by empowering and educating youth in their own community.
High School Students at E.E. Maria Aparecida
Caroline and Claudio, site leads for CodeToHope in Brazil, started their journey at the beginning of 2018 at the E.E. Maria Aparecida (Maria Aparecida Rodrigues State School) by hosting courses for the high school students. The team ran a pilot version of these courses, which included subjects on Collaboration, Networks, Mobile Technology and Web development.
What led you to pick this school E.E. Maria Aparecida?
The location of the school was accessible to J&J employees, it resonated with the mission of targeting youth in underprivileged communities and the school management team was welcoming.
How did you determine what to teach the students?
The students were asked to write a letter that included what they want to be in life, their age, their grade and if they had any topic related to technology that they wanted to learn.
They then spread the message with their colleagues and asked if anyone could volunteer as teachers and what they were able to teach. From there, they matched the skillsets of volunteers to the letters’ request and determined what would be most beneficial for the students long-term. The pilot was a 3-week course administered twice a week. After school advertising, 20 students were selected and split evenly between morning and night classes. With the help of the volunteers, the pilot was a success and became an established framework that was executed twice more so far.
CodeToHope Brazil team was able to raise money for Robotic materials and courses on Robotics would replace Mobile Technology.
Teachers at Matarazzo
The team completed a trial with teachers at the Matarazzo. After the teachers expressed their need for teacher training on technology and computers in the school, CodeToHope Brazil team helped by providing 15 teachers training technologies that helped their demands, allowing improvement in their interactions with students.
Undergraduate Students at FATEC
The progress in 2018 opened doors for even more work that could be done in Brazil. In 2019, CodeToHope Brazil team saw an opportunity to help students in college as well. They minimized their work in the high school to 10 students and shifted focus to college students at FATEC (São Paulo State Technological College) with the goal of improving their ability to get a job during college. Using their professional credibility, experience, and connections as leverage, they formed a partnership with the college and taught about 60 students through lectures and workshops mainly focused on Big Data.
Furthermore, they piloted a technical innovation project with 5 students all acting as different roles in the IT world (product owners, scrum masters, and testers). The idea was to create a product that would help people in their communities using Rapid Value Realization techniques. The students were then given the opportunity to present to 50 of Claudio and Caroline’s colleagues.
What challenges have you faced by championing CodeToHope in Brazil?
One of the great challenges was keeping the team and volunteers engaged through many different demands and experiences. Being a teacher and working with teenagers was a first for most team members, which made as value more the work of those professionals. As well as, working without budget and making things happen with the resources they had available.
So far, CodetoHope Brazil has been able to impact 50 high school students, 15 teachers and their students, and approximately 65 college students and their course coordinators.
“It was a great journey so far, a true experience of learning as you go. With our challenges and limited resources, none of that would be possible without the help and good will of our team members and volunteers, thank you all for taking a role into shaping a different future for these students.”
– Caroline Caetano, CodeToHope Brazil Volunteer