Code to Inspire: Inspiring the Next Generation of Mobile Developers in Afghanistan

For many developers around the world, inspiration is just a click away. But not everyone has equal opportunities to pursue their dreams of a career in programming. That’s where Code to Inspire comes in.

In 2015, social activist Fereshteh Forough founded Code to Inspire, Afghanistan’s first and only non-profit coding school for young women. The goal is simple: teach programming skills to aspiring female tech entrepreneurs to open up new financial and social opportunities for them within the global tech market.  

It’s been about two years since the Axway team last spoke with Forough (back then, the school had just recognized its first graduating class of 50 students). Today, Code to Inspire has more than tripled the number of students enrolled in the two-year program. We caught up with Forough recently to discuss Code to Inspire’s incredible growth, how they use Titanium to empower Afghanistan’s mobile development community, and to showcase the inspirational apps their students have built.

#AfghanGirlsCode with Titanium

This year, Code to Inspire received a whopping 200 admissions applications from young women across Afghanistan (four times the size of its inaugural graduating class). Thanks to new grants and fundraising efforts, Forough said the school has been able to add new classes and disciplines, such as graphic design.

“We’re now planning to launch our first ever classes in blockchain and cryptocurrency,” Forough told us. “The curriculum for that is in the works now and we hope to start teaching it later this year.”

According to Forough, Axway’s Titanium platform has continued to be the top choice for Code to Inspire’s mobile developers thanks to its time-saving framework, powerful performance, and flexibility for cross-platform apps written with JavaScript.

“Titanium is a great mobile app development platform for our students because it enables them to learn how to build native cross-platform apps early in their development,” said Code to Inspire mentor, Aalem Daneshyar. “They’re also able to use the Axway cloud with many different services in order to add more robust feature sets.”

Since JavaScript is already a core element of the Code to Inspire curriculum, Titanium has been a natural fit for students to hone their development skills.

“Our students at Code to Inspire were excited about Titanium and being able to leverage their JavaScript knowledge to easily build mobile applications for both Android and iOS,” added Aalem Daneshyar. “It didn’t take long until they could create a fully functional mobile application.”

Inspirational Developers, Inspirational Apps

Forough explains that Code to Inspire students have created more than 20 games and mobile apps that focus on social impact issues in Afghanistan and around the world, including a travel companion for tourists, an app to connect donors with grassroots organizations in Afghanistan, and guides to help citizens learn to drive and apply to universities.

Here are some of the most popular apps Code to Inspire students have created using Titanium:   

Afghan Backpack

Afghan Backpack is a travel companion app that helps tourists and visitors find everything from hotels and restaurants to historical places and parks in Afghanistan’s largest cities. It was developed by Razia Sabeghi, Fatema Alizadeh and Munireh Hoseinzadeh.

“When people talk about Afghanistan, it’s often about how the country is a war-zone and that there isn’t a lot of hope,” said Forough. “We want to show people around the world there are beautiful places here and wonderful things to do here.”

Afghan Backpack screen Afghan Backpack detail screen

Afghanistan Connect

Forough told us that the idea for this app came from a filmmaker who shot a movie in Afghanistan. Whenever she screened her movie in other countries, audience members would often ask how they can help contribute to causes in Afghanistan. With scarce information around grassroots organizations in the country, these potential donors found it difficult to send aid.

To fill the void, Code to Inspire students, Afsaneh Arsin and Nazifa Momenabadi, created Afghanistan Connect to inform and connect donors with charitable and non-profit companies in the country. The app has received praise both in Afghanistan and internationally for connecting numerous donors to worthy causes.

Afghanistan Connect screen Afghanistan Connect detail screen

Traffic Guidance and University Guide

In Afghanistan, many women have been unable to learn how to drive because of cultural and social reasons. To help these women avoid stigma at traffic offices while trying to learn the rules of the road, Code to Inspire student Afsaneh Arsin developed Traffic Guidance (Rahnamaye Trafik), an app with all the resources needed to learn how to drive and obtain a license.

Traffic Guidance screen Traffic Guidance screen

Similarly, there can be a dearth of information and resources for high school students seeking to attend university. Code to Inspire student Fereshteh Abbasi stepped in to help by developing University Guide (Rahnamaye Reshteh), a useful app that assists students in figuring out everything they need in order to choose and apply to the right college.

University Guide screenUniversity Guide screen

Forough said that so far, all of these projects are free apps — since the goal right now is to give back to the community. “However, in the future, we’re planning to incorporate monetization, so that the girls can be compensated for the apps that they’re building.”

She reiterated that the ultimate mission of Code to Inspire is to help graduates find permanent employment or remote work in the tech space. Plus, the ability to monetize their mobile creations will go a long way in helping these women build sustainable careers in tech, so that they can continue to inspire the world through their amazing apps. You can help by hiring Code to Inspire’s talented developers for your next project today!

Want to learn more about Code to Inspire, donate to their cause, or hire a student developer for a project? Check out their website here.