What issue are you trying to solve?
Nigeria, a country with a population of about 200 million, as Treat(2016) reports, 23.7% have a hearing impairment(Total Deafness, hearing loss, or other hearing-related impairment). with a disturbing 84% of the deaf population under-educated and economically underdeveloped(Eleweke, Agboola,& Guteng 2015) most Deaf individuals find it hard to secure a job because they are unemployable.
With the booming Tech Industry in Nigeria, it sad that no deaf person is participating. There is indeed numerous intervention for Tech skills acquisition but sadly none is geared towards building the Deaf community for careers in Tech. Hence excluded from the fastest-growing and the highest paying jobs in the world. Seeing the potency of possessing Tech skills, we are poised to change the narrative by preparing the children of ages 4-19 for a future in Tech.
What is your approach to change this undesired situation?
The initiative builds a strong ecosystem of deaf kids programmers, grooms them in Programming and Robotics, nurturing them to become leaders in the Tech industry. Through our week of code, Deaf schools are first introduced to programming, Deaf schools are first introduced to programming and Robotics for a week after which interested kids join us for continuous learning and hence become part of a strong community of Deaf kid developers. At our weekend club, Deaf kids get all the time to explore, learn, tinker, create and collaborate to builds solutions. Our project-based and hands-on approach makes learning fun and engaging.
Our result-based approach has guaranteed technical skills in programming, Robotics, design thinking and also life skills such as Creativity, problems-solving skills, computational and critical thinking and teamwork which are core skills required in the 21st century.
What is the potential impact of your initiative?
Through the initiative, we have reached out to about 100 deaf kids from 6 different schools and have been consistently engaging 34 kids that make up the ecosystem. They have since understood the basics of programming and Robotics, developed games and sign language tutor using scratch, built and programmed autonomous Robots and have built a smart home using Arduino. These kids participate in the 2018 Indigitous Hackathon and have developed Q&A android app and most recently have brilliantly participated in the MakeX National Robotics Competition 2019. As a result, we have seen a great change of attitude of their immediate society towards them.
Plans are underway to reach out to more deaf schools to establish programming clubs and to incorporate programming and Robotics in their curriculum thereby creating more opportunities for the deaf child to pursue careers in Tech.