A Young Dream Weaver by Khadija Bencekri (2012 TechGirls alum)

Khadija for blog

We all used to have wonderful dreams when we were young—I am not exception. I wanted to be a doctor since I was six years old. As the years passed by, I changed my mind and I wanted to become a programmer. This was principally because I loved coding and computer-related skills. The idea of venturing into the world of computer sciences came into maturity because I was attracted to my eldest sister‘s commitment to computers.  I loved that world because it seems interesting. As a result, I decided to learn more about it.

I started searching the internet, spending my waking hours on the computer doing seemingly trivial things. I loved clubs like SPACETOON club, JCCTV club. I constantly checked my email inbox to see games’ newsletters. I became obsessed with the computer world and with its attractive virtual nature. I picked up lots of new hobbies. I met new friends in clubs. I loved new things like Design (Photoshop). I began reading books online. Since I was twelve, I’ve loved writing poems. My mother used to say they are reminiscent of older poets. I was passionate about writing poems, and novels, too! With Photoshop, I would design pictures and write my poems across them. When I discovered new software, I was even more fascinated by what I could do.

Henceforth, I changed my goal from being a doctor to being a software programmer.

In 2008, I was selected to represent the youth of my community in the child parliament in Morocco. That was the first great achievement in my life. But 2012 was a very special year for me. In 2012, I applied to TechGirls. At first, I didn’t know if it was the right decision for me. When the embassy called me, it sounded like a dream. I was surprised, happy, and afraid at the same time. It was an amalgam of undecided feelings. It was a nice idea but it was hard to get used to. Sometimes I feel as though I live in an environment where I am discouraged to do great things, even if I have talent. After participating in TechGirls, I learned that everything is possible, and that I, as a young person, can make a change. I can change the world using words, science, and technology.

When I returned to Morocco, I knew that I had a huge responsibility—to apply what I learned in the US, namely sharing my technical and leadership skills with my community. I knew that it was important to help people in my community get involved in technology, but I didn’t know what to do. I had a lot of ideas but what I saw as the most important thing was finding a way to help others.

The first project I completed was teaching my classmates how to code using Javascript. One project was not enough, however, and several weeks ago, I started a new project. I am now teaching ACCESS 2013 in Zagora, the town where I live, as well as software skills related to HTML/JAVA.

As far as my peer teaching experience is concerned,  I’ve found that volunteering and community service are the most rewarding and enjoyable activities in my life. By doing them, we make a concrete difference. We significantly impact realities and mindsets.

The most valuable lesson which I have drawn from this experience is that we mustn’t give up. We must fight to achieve our dreams. We are a generation of young women who are eager to lead our communities and the world as a whole. To this generation, I would like to share the following pieces of advice:

  • Change can be an action or an idea.
  • Share your knowledge and ideas with people.
  • Show them love and care.
  • Believe in yourself.
  • Be the guide of your own way.