My coding story: Nadia | Code Club, Iraq

A success to our team is to have a Code Club in every school in Iraq. Hi, I'm Nadia. I am the head of computer system department in Iraq. The thing that encouraged me to to keep in computer science is my parents. They were very supportive and encouraged me in every step. Now I'm passing this passion to my students and my children and the children that I work with at Code Club.

I always wanted to do a PhD, always wanted to do my postgraduate studies abroad. And the opportunity came through the Higher Education Ministry from Iraq. And I was lucky to get accepted at Brunel University. Through the Brunel Volunteering office, I learned about Code Club. As an international student, I always wanted to experience life as it is, not just being a student, but being part of the UK, being part of the community that I am in.

One of those opportunities was volunteering here at Oak Farm Library, running a Code Club. It added to me, my skills, and the same time I was able to share my expertise with the young children and to learn from them as well. When we think about Code Club, we think of coding and children making games or they are doing a website but Code Club is more than that.

The outcome and the effect is beyond just the technical stuff. They learn how to work as a team. They learn how to communicate between each other. They learn how to be independent on their learning and how to teach themselves, debug, and find errors, solve those errors, help each other, share resources. All that skills. The ones that you can't find in a book or you can't take in the training.

When I came back to Iraq, I decided to have a Code Club, the first Code Club in Iraq. We started by giving training to trainers and we were the first Code Club within the organisation to offer training to females-only trainers, because in Maysan you can find a doctor female, you can find a teacher female, but you can't find an ICT trainer.

Now, we are not just running in Maysan. We have different clubs in different provinces, all together, around nine or ten clubs now. The second thing that I took with me was, of course the resources from the Raspberry Pi Foundation. Not every child has a has a smartphone or a device. The Foundation also introduced the unplugged activities, which was amazing.

It was very important to to us because we can use and we can teach computer science without the need for a computer. So I support the volunteers to translate all those resources from English to Arabic. The experience for the children, they would have in a Code Club, they will take it through the whole their whole life. It will stick with them until they are adults.

And they will remember being in the club, learning this stuff, and working together.