Apart, but together — the CoderDojo community in India
In this blog, Vasu, our Club Programme Coordinator in India, shares her experience of how the CoderDojo India community came together for Coolest Projects Online 2021.
An opportunity to connect, collaborate, and celebrate!
This blog is dedicated to some extraordinary Champions who went above and beyond! Their efforts resulted in more than 100 projects being registered for Coolest Projects 2021 by the CoderDojo community in India. Coolest Projects aims to enable young people to get creative with tech, have fun, and be a part of something exceptional. Running Coolest Projects online in 2021 opened up opportunities to many young people worldwide, including those in India, by allowing them to participate from home.
Providing support, no matter the circumstances
To support our community in India, we hosted several meetups, and I left every meetup feeling that the Champions and Ninjas I spoke to were very keen to get involved in something big like Coolest Projects.
In Bangalore, we had one in-person Coolest Projects session with a group of students from a government school before the second wave of Covid-19 started affecting the region in March. Thereafter, it was difficult for learners to come to Dojos and access their laptops. However, our community members did not give up! They spoke to Ninjas and parents individually and motivated them to participate, talked to them about the benefits of participating in a global challenge, and often offered one-to-one guidance as well!
Initially, I wondered if it was a good idea to expect learners to participate during a pandemic. I thought about the situation in India, and I was daunted by how many people did not yet know about Coolest Projects, and about how some communities have little to no access to computers or even basic internet. But Champions like Sebin Sunny from Innovation & Entrepreneurship Development Center (IEDC) Simat were instrumental in helping us reach many young learners. Sebin took initiative by organising webinars and meetings with his Ninjas and several schools across Kerala, where I got the opportunity to present Coolest Projects to the students.
A shared purpose during shared adversity
During this challenging time of the pandemic, creating opportunities for community involvement is difficult, and we are all still learning. Despite this, the CoderDojo community has proven its resilience by finding different ways to come together, lean on each other for support, and take action to remind us all that we are in this together.
For example, after the call with IEDC Simat organised by Sebin, I felt we were united in a shared purpose during a shared adversity. It occurred to me that maybe this crisis could be the spark that ignites a new community spirit, where people and communities interact with one another, offering support and mentorship where it is needed, and so much more. The claps, cheers, and questions from teachers and students at the end of my presentation made a lasting impact on me!
Collaborating across Madhya Pradesh
After our first ‘Come together to learn together’ call for 2021, we were quick to realise that there is a need to conduct similar calls with different states in their local language. With this in mind, we collaborated with Acropolis Institute and Facebook Developers’ Circle in Madhya Pradesh, an eastern state in India. We created a live event conducted in Hindi. The entire outreach for that event was handled by two of our Champions and their team: Arpan Jain and Mrinal Jain. They tried to cover the entire state of Madhya Pradesh, and they succeeded! Both these Champions reached out to everyone in their networks, shared posts, personally called many schools, and mobilised hundreds of interested participants across Madhya Pradesh.
What a result!
Through the monumental efforts of our Champions, we went from 17 registered projects from India in 2020 to over 600 projects from India this year — nearly a 2500% increase! I cannot thank you all enough for your efforts and the mentorship that you offered to so many children throughout!
This is a testament to what communities can do together: they connect, they collaborate, and they celebrate!
If you are part of the CoderDojo community in India and want to get in touch with me, please schedule a call using the button below.