65 girls aged 16-20 from 13 regions of Moldova were trained in web programming, robotics and 3-D printing at the "Girls Go IT" summer camp held from July 21-30 in Chisinau, the capital of Moldova. This is the third edition of the summer camp. The participants of the training program also visited technology companies, including DAS Solutions, Moldcell, Matrix and Tekwill. In addition, DAS Solutions offered internship opportunities to two program participants.
Most participants printed their models on a 3-D printer for the first time in their lives, wrote code to control the robot, and created their first web pages.
"I always thought technology wasn't my thing," admits Sabina Brinza, one of the program participants.
GirlsGoIT's summer camp program participants visited several technology companies to learn about their businesses, products, and services and to further their knowledge of opportunities in STEM fields.
The GirlsGoIT summer camp program visited several technology companies to learn about their businesses, products, and services and expand their knowledge of STEM opportunities. Photo Credit: GirlsGoIT
"Technology is the future. I think every girl and woman has a huge potential within them. Why not study technology if you want to? After all, we are all equal," said Marita Kiorba, another participant in the program.
"The Girls go in IT program encouraged me to choose a profession in technology and now I want to contribute to the involvement of Moldovan girls in the IT industry. I will do my best to motivate the 65 participants of the summer camp", says Ileana Crudu, mentor of this year's program and participant of previous editions of "Girls go in IT". She is currently studying artificial intelligence at Maastricht University in the Netherlands and is one of the few girls in her group.
The girls master the 3D printer to print their first 3D models. GirlsGoIT
For the first time, the summer camp curriculum includes robotics and 3-D printing in addition to computer science.
"We are confident that this year's version brings us one step closer to achieving Girls Go IT's mission - access to modern technology and educational opportunities in the technology field," says Michaela Iurascu, Girls Go IT coordinator.
"In the MINT (math, engineering, science and technology) field, there are still a considerable number of barriers to the full involvement and participation of women. Through programs like Girls Go IT, we are showing that technology is something girls can do!" - Ulzisuren Jamsran, UN Women's representative in Moldova, noted in her address to participants.
"UN Women is empowering women in MINT through the Girls Go IT program.
In addition to learning technical skills, the girls expanded their knowledge of their own rights. During the session organized by UN Women, the girls from Moldova participated in a conversation with UN Women staff and Maya Taran, a former victim of domestic violence and now an "influencer" who encourages victims of domestic violence to seek help. The discussion evolved around human rights, domestic violence prevention and cybercrime.
Taran's story did not leave the girls indifferent and they bombarded her with questions, such as "Why do women keep silent and tolerate violence against themselves?", "What can a child do when they witness domestic violence?" and "How are the laws enforced in Moldova?" They also shared stories of how they had to defend their rights in different situations.
Participants posted their messages on social media to motivate other teens to learn more about their rights and advocate for a life free of violence. One of these messages reads, "Don't let violence make you forget who you are.
Participants posted their messages on social media to motivate other teens to learn more about their rights and advocate for a life without violence. One of these posts reads, "Don't let violence make you forget who you are."
Encouraged by this conversation, the girls posted inspirational messages on social media to their peers, urging them to strive to increase their knowledge of their rights and advocate for their right to live in a violence-free world. "You have the right to demand your rights," "Don't let violence make you forget who you are," "Online violence hurts too," said some of the messages.
The Girls Go IT program was launched on March 27, 2015. The goal of the program is to empower girls in Moldova in the MINT field. The program is present in 11 regions of Moldova. Its implementation is a joint effort of UN Women in Moldova, the Embassy of Sweden in Moldova, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, Google Corporation, the U.S. Agency for International Development in Moldova, Moore Stephens KSC, Spark Research Labs and TEKEDU.
The training partners are the Technical University of Moldova and Atelier 99.