Advice from a OHBD CS Grad: Let’s build a future that the next generation will be thankful for

In late 2020, we were awarded a grant from the American Corners to run Computer Science and Entrepreneurship Boot Camps along with a series of leadership talks.  It was the most challenging of environments with conflict and the virus each presenting what seemed like insurmountable challenges. The OHBD team had to consistently reinvent and reimagine to support our students from Dire Dawa, Jimma and Bahir Dar.

You never really know the impact of these efforts until you hear back from the participants.  One recently reached out to volunteer with OHBD which was a wonderful surprise.  He is an entrepreneur with his own business.  So, I asked if he would be willing to write a bit about his work and what the OHBD Boot camp meant to him.  I told him I wanted to promote his work too.  I was blown away by his response which is below.

Thank you, Yeabsira Tesfaye for sharing your journey and for your commitment to paying it forward.  We are honored to continue to collaborate with you.

Content Warning:  Discusses Suicide

Written by Yeabsira Tesfaye

I sat on a bench crumpled up and filled with worthlessness and suicidal thoughts. It was a time when we were forced to stop our studies and go home because of the ongoing conflict at that time. Shivers pierced through the skin of my body.  Listening to the groaning of my hungry stomach was a reminder of the arduous life events I have been through, from growing up with the financial, and psychological challenges of a divorced family to the social pressure that paved my path to what was assumed safe and less risky that will help me to secure good job security by achieving good grades.

All the choices I made out of fear flashed before my eyes and I prayed and decided to give myself one more chance to go on my dream path before killing myself. On the next day, I started taking HTML and CSS online courses in the library. Fortunately, I met with Mr. Yonas, the IT coordinator of Dire Dawa American Corner, who knows about the tech projects I have been working on during the pandemic. We discussed how everything was going on and invited me to attend one leadership session of Open Hearts Big Dreams Computer Science Bootcamp. There were some questions popping up on the chat box and Ellenore was giving noble answers on various topics. I started asking different questions about courage, timing, dreams, self-value, and other topics by referring to what I have been through and my current situations. She answered most of my questions in a way that forced me to realize that there is something big beyond my horizon and encouraged me to go for my dream. Especially, I remember her advice using the metaphor of swimming.

“You can’t ever learn swimming just by reading books and looking at others swimming; the only way you can learn swimming is actually by going into the pool. At the same time, you can’t just jump into an ocean without teaching yourself how to swim because you don’t want to end up drowning. So, my advice is to keep your heads up and take one step at a time toward your dream.”

I took that advice and applied it carefully in every aspect of life. I applied and got accepted to join the Bootcamp, where I took courses that equipped me with the knowledge of front-end development. Honestly, in this Bootcamp, I have learned how to think as a programmer and solve different problems from great personalities in the area as Yohannes and Abebe. I have met and learned from the life experience of scholars such as Dr. Berhanu Bulcha and Dr. Tsega.

After finishing the Bootcamp, I started participating in different Hackathons, and that was the moment I founded a web development company in collaboration with other developers. One thing I learned in the process is when you do what you love the journey will become effortless, and your only focus will be how to get better at your craft. From that on, I specialized in Web Design and WordPress Development and leadership.

Throughout this one-year journey, I designed and developed more than 28 projects from the initial concept and research to the testing and implementation phase, designed and executed security measures such as firewalls and encryption plugins for different websites, Made full web and security analyses, and sent a recommended measures to different government organizations as the University of Gondar, Ethiopian Space Society, and Ethiopian Family planning Institute, Planned and integrated full SEO service for the Ethio Counselor website helping them boost their customer interaction by 78%, Completed full redesign of existing websites to improve their navigation, visual interaction and search engine rankings and Developed and implemented ABO testing strategies to support website marketing efforts. As a person living in a developing country, I have seen various problems in the Education, Job Market, Tourism, and Hospitality sector that can be solved by technology. So, we started studying these problems parallel to the client projects we do, and in the process and we recently launched Tatari Jobs, an online recruitment solution in which companies can host their jobs get competent candidates, review applications, interview online and notify the results while candidates get their dream jobs from their dream companies in Ethiopia and in preparation to launch the first all in one tour, hotel, and car aggregator platform to boost the tourism and hospitality sector in Ethiopia and East Africa.

What goes around comes around, and I always see volunteering as a way of thanking God, the people who gave me different opportunities and believed in me even in my time of misery. I participated in various volunteering activities from serving as a scout to organizing campaigns during the pandemic. After founding Yeab Future, I started thinking about what can I contribute back to the world with the gift I got from God, and I found out there are many charity organizations that can be helped with their digital presence but can’t afford to pay the expensive prices of web designers and developers, so we started contacting different charity organizations, introducing them what we do. We got positive responses from many of them, and we decided to provide two full web design and development packages every year.

Currently, I am looking for opportunities to pursue software engineering courses as I became interested in Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Neural networking, and I look forward to what solutions I can bring to the African Market. Finally, I want to say something for all people, especially youths facing difficult problems and thinking about suicide. Every challenge you came across comes only to strengthen you for the life you want to live, and once you got there, trust me you will look back and be grateful for the challenges you faced. Let’s build a future that the next generation will be thankful for.

Kind Regards,

Yeabsira Tesfaye

Founder and CEO at Yeab Future