Partnering with village children through an Armenian NGO

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A new initiative between a technology company and a nonprofit organization is sparking interest in coding and programming at a younger age, paving the way for entry-level technology employees with more experience.

By partnering with the Children of Armenia Fund (COAF), Digital Pomegranate, an NYC-based technology company with a field office in Armenia, has entered into a long-term plan to teach the young generation coding skills for app and website development.

The global lack of coding knowledge implemented at a young age has created a gap between those who have received an education and their career in coding and website development. Without coding skills, there are limited opportunities in technology fields even with full high school and college curriculum standards being met. By holding workshop programs for rural Armenian kids, DigitalPomegranate and COAF are getting a head start in filling this gap. This means that down the road, rural Armenia may produce some of the best and most experienced coders in the business due to the implementation of these skills at a younger age. Implementing coding skills at a young age has a similar to effect when compared to how a younger student’s brain is more susceptible to language acquisition. “Research shows the younger the brain, the easier it is for the basics of coding and programming to become second nature,” a rep from Digital Pomegranate said.

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By utilizing the resources of the non-profit organization, the company is connecting with motivated and intelligent students and teaching them to code. The important skills the kids are learning are not only benefitting the future careers of the kids, but the initiative is creating a new generation of talented coders and technology specialists to further the ventures of their own company and others in the field. In other words, they are training people to hire in the future.

Digital Pomegranate held their first four-week intensive seminar this summer for rural Armenian kids. The classes took place three times per week with a 2:9 teacher student ratio. The kids who participated in the program learned to create and design websites using Photoshop, WordPress and Visual Composer. The 14 through 18-year-old students successfully built their own websites using WordPress, CSS, and JavaScript and completed work for Digital Pomegranate’s customers by the end of the program.

By providing instruction at their SMART centers, COAF is hoping that the kids will one day become so proficient in coding they will be able to teach classes at the center themselves. The program intends to prepare rural Armenian youths for careers in coding and programming. By using their current staff of programmers to teach children new skills, Digital Pomegranate and COAF are setting them up for futures in programming, robotics, website and app development and similar fields. This means that the kids they are training now may be able to be hired by their own company just a few years down the road.

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The Children of Armenia Fund’s SMART initiative is the most notable rural development initiative in the world. With initiatives like this one, COAF’s SMART centers will be hubs of intelligence, innovation, and advancement. The first SMART center is set to open in the Lori region this upcoming academic year. Once the modern building is open to the public, COAF plans to implement this same coding education program on a larger scale. The SMART center is large enough to house much higher quantities of students and instructors. The vast space available will be utilized to spark passion and interest in students who may have bright futures in coding.

The kids who learn to code and create websites through Digital Pomegranate’s programs will be able to go on and teach the next generation the same skills. This creates a cycle in which these types of skills will continually be presented at a younger age than the current average. This is the kind of initiative COAF’s SMART centers intend to house.

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