My Dear TechGirls by 2012 Alum Lara Kasbari (Palestinian Territories)

Lara Kasbari, 2012 TechGirls Alum

Lara Kasbari, 2012 TechGirls Alum

TechGirls is and will always be a once in a lifetime experience—the kind that you will never forget!

Having the opportunity to participate in TechGirls last year impacted me in many aspects. It broadened my horizons, changed me, and made me a better person.

When I got home from the US to my little town of Bethlehem in Palestine, I saw things differently—I saw them from the perspective of a TechGirl.

I also realized how important each one of us is in society. It is people who make a community and our communities depend on each one of us to make it better. Participating in TechGirls made me realize how important it is to be an active member of society, to help our communities grow, and make a change!

Upon return to our home countries, my fellow TechGirls and I saw it as our responsibility to apply the technology and leadership skills we gained in the US. When I got back, I saw the need in my society for youth to learn technological skills. I connected with the Diabetic Friends Society and started a project to deliver basic computer science training for deprived and underprivileged kids.

My project was a simple idea that I called “TechKids.” Thanks to the University of Bethlehem, I was able to use one of their computer labs to teach in. The project was targeted toward kids between the ages of 5 and 12 who hardly knew what computers were when the class first started. Most of the students I taught didn’t have a computer at home, so it was a great opportunity for them to finally use a computer and to see its use value in daily life tasks.

Lara and her students

Lara and her students

The kids came once a week for about a month. At first, they learned the basic things, such as how to turn a computer on and off, and we then progressed to using the internet. I also taught them leadership skills. I believe that learning basic computer skills at a young age is very important, because it will help these individuals in the coming years—especially during this modern technological revolution.

It was priceless to see the smiles of these little children using computers efficiently—those smiles meant the world to me. Honestly, though, these kids taught me more than I taught them. Some had diabetes. To face such a thing at a young age is indescribable…but these kids were so brave and strong. They were ready to face the challenges they had in their lives, unlike many of us, who give up easily and lose hope. These kids I taught had a spark in them that no one could ever shut down.

Now, to give some advice to my dear new Techies this year! I would advise you to look first for where in your society help is needed the most, then give it your best! Collaborate with others or on your own, start a project, make a plan, set a goal, and follow it!

Learn and never stop learning!

Develop your technological skills and your knowledge in general!

Never give up! No matter how many setbacks you get along the road, you must keep going!

And, most importantly, my dear TechGirls: we are the women of tomorrow. We must believe in ourselves and in the power of making a change. Because in the end, all material things go but what we leave behind from ourselves, the footprints we make in the world, these things will stay.