We have focused on technology literacy especially for young women. Our first efforts were Summer Girls Programing Class through Lebawi in 2018. Lebawi has graduated award winning technologists that are now studying in the best universities around the globe so they were a natural choice for us.
In 2019, we started additional classes at the American Corners in Bahir Dar and Jimma.
In 2020, we were awarded a grant to run Computer Science and Business and Entrepreneurship Boot Camps which ran through September 2022. We piloted an internship program with some of our CS graduates. You can read more about one of them here.
Leadership for the Future
In 2020, we began a Leadership Talk series to provide youth examples of leaders with a focus on innovation and community engagement.
Open Hearts Big Dreams started with funding a library at Yekatit 23 school in Bahir Dar in 2011. Bahir is the birthplace of our founder’s daughter. This library has since expanded to a new building and is a model for community.
Gonder is a small town in North West Ethiopia. It has close to 300,000 residents. It was a thriving capital city of Ethiopia from mid-1500 to late 1800. There are only a few elementary school servicing close to 100,000 children. None of them have a decent building for a library, have very few books, and no computers. We created two unique Ready Set Go Books about this special place.
As part of this model program, we identified one elementary school, LiElit Elementary school, with the largest number of students and started a project to build a library. We completed the Model library in 2020 with support from Together We Learn and collaborating with the school, the community, and the city mayor’s office. The library has been used for recent training efforts.
Our vision is to create an environment where children and community from the city of Gonder can come and read stories, learn computer skills, and socialize with each other. Ultimately, we want to provide a model that can be replicated in other schools and cities to build local capacity for innovation and solving complex challenges.