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