By Samera Edwards, Program Associate
From meeting with an ambassador and seeing the success of fellows, to strolling the streets of Amman, it was a full day of inspiration and making connections.
Representatives from the U.S. Embassy and USAID, as well as U.S. Ambassador Alice Wells set the stage for the delegation trip by driving home the importance of TechWomen and other empowering exchange programs, such as TechGirls. “Jordan is a country without natural resources, but its competitive advantage is in its human capital.” The fact-driven context about the Jordanian economy, women’s involvement and technology in Jordan became a call to action for program alumnae to engage the private sector through relationships built as a result of the TechWomen program.
Hello World Kids
Hanan Khader, a fellow from 2013, launched her now-thriving startup, Hello World Kids, with a TechWomen seed grant. “When I was back from TechWomen, I started writing out my ideas, and one was to teach children to learn how to code. I’m a programmer and also an entrepreneur. I started with my kids. Then, I approached schools. Most schools said, ‘No because the teachers do not know about programming.’ But, I wrote an entire curriculum, and then I started with one school; and it evolved. In 2016, we expect around 30 schools will be implementing, and around 40,000 children will be learning to code.”
The delegation received an informational tour from 3Dmena, a Jordanian startup that uses 3D printing to help refugees. For example, the startup was able to develop a 3D-printed prosthetic hand for a child for only $75. Another project is creating technology to mimic microclimates to grow food in refugee camps.
Eureka Tech Academy
Eureka Tech Academy was conceptualized and implemented by 2011 fellow Afnan Ali. Since beginning the academy in 2013, Afnan has been able to help 250 children. “TechWomen was a trigger for producing Eureka… I want to help students become engineers and inventors.” One of the students told the delegation, “Someday I want to invent something that will help people.”
The group wrapped up the day with an evening “Fast-Walk” to explore the city of Amman. During the two-hour walk, TechWomen fellows and mentors were able to connect through conversation. Majd Hemiemat, a fellow from 2014 explained, “I didn’t realize the impact of TechWomen until I got back to Jordan. At first I was tired and frustrated, but then I realized that I became more confident, comfortable and passionate to talk. The way I think is different now. The experience will make you focused in an indirect way.”
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