Maureen Chebet and Damaris Sirengo, Kenya
Nairobi is home to Kenya’s Kibera housing project where an estimated 170,000 live in poverty. With minimal opportunities and high unemployment, most live on less than $1 a day. For women, life in Kibera is even harder with few education and employment opportunities.
In January 2017, DDD, AWS and Intel launched the Cloud Center of Excellence in Kenya to teach technology skills to young people from Kibera and other underserved parts of Nairobi. More than a third of the pilot class were women and most had no computer experience.
Maureen Chebet and Damaris Sirengo were part of this inaugural class completing six months of training to become certified in AWS Systems Ops.In November, AWS invited them to ReInvent in Las Vegas to share their own experiences and how DDD is helping women in Nairobi gain skills in technology.
“The technology industry is male-dominated, but we all have potential.” Maureen believes. “Unfortunately, women often are not given a chance because their skills are underestimated. We need to widen our empowerment channels to support women who want to enter tech."
Dameris’ experiences were similar. “Since we started the training, I have seen myself grow tremendously. I`ve overcome the fear and perception of ‘it’s impossible, and that IT is hard only men can do it.’ Once I started doing it, I found out that I can do it better than the men.”
Their stories were heard by executives at Enquizit, a U.S. based managed services provider, who invited Maureen and Damaris to train alongside their employees to serve clients in applications, web development and cloud migrations.
“We hope to further dissolve barriers to socio-economic gains for motivated and intelligent youths...we’ll strive to get these young professionals the chance they’ve earned,” said TC Ratnapuri, Enquizit President.
Today both Maureen and Damaris work remotely from Kenya helping their Enquizit colleagues bring cloud skills to clients around the globe—demonstrating technology truly has no boundaries.