Computer Coding in Haiti

We will continue to keep you up to date on what is going on in Haiti and what is going on with our family, but I also want to keep you up to date on how the ministry of All Things New is progressing.  We have a lot of exciting things going on, but our main focus over the past couple of years or so has been coming up with a plan for our older kids as they begin to prepare for the rest of their lives.  There are so many things working against young men and women in this environment, and ATN is made up mostly of teenagers.  

Over the past few months we have shared with you about some of the ideas we have for creating jobs both for our community and for the kids of All Things New.  We are currently working on 4 different possibilities that we have shared about in the past but today I want to describe to you our computer coding idea.  Our plan is to train Haitians on front end web development through an online training platform run by Team Treehouse.  This particular training program should last about 6 months at the end of which each student should have the skills to work on, maintain, and build a website.  As you probably know, this skill is invaluable in a world that is increasingly reliant on technology in general and the internet in particular.

There will be hurdles that we have to work through as we move forward with this, but the biggest initial hurdle is that the training is in english.  While the training is top notch, only a small percentage of Haitians speak english and an even smaller number speak english well enough to learn technical skills like this.  We currently have 1 of our tutors, Mackenson, who is a little over halfway through the training and doing really well.  He was our initial test case to make sure this endeavor was really doable.  We have recently chosen 6 additional men and women from the surrounding community to start the training when I return to Haiti in March.  We interviewed quite a few candidates and these 6 were really sharp and spoke excellent english.  Mackenson will be ready to begin accepting jobs within a couple of months while the other 6 should be ready by October.

When the training is complete every trainee will be able to offer their services to individuals and organizations around the world.  One of the best things about this idea is that you can offer these services internationally without having to worry about shipping and custom costs or logistics.  Where there is an internet connection and enough skill, these services can be “shipped” all over the world.

As we move forward with this, there will be other issues that arise.  Some of the ones we anticipate are:

  • Finding coding jobs for those who complete the course.
  • Getting pay down to Haiti.
  • Support from people who are proficient in these skills to help our beginners.
  • Marketing to show how skillful our workers are.

Of course there will be other issues as well, but none of the issues are insurmountable by any means. In fact, before I move any further, I want to mention the brains behind this idea, a friend of mine in Jacksonville, Scott Magdalein.  We have met a few times to discuss this possibility, and he is the one who has come up with solutions to any issues we have discussed.  Also Jared Elder who, 2 years after ATN started came up with a similar idea and has helped us get this off the ground as well.  Thanks guys.  If it were up to me, this idea would have never come about!

Finally, as this plan moves forward we have a huge need to make it worthwhile for our kids.  These first 7 people who are going through the program are our test cases.  We are going to see what type of return on investment we might have.  But as it stands right now, none of our ATN kids speak english well enough to go through the training.  Please pray with us about how we can help increase their english language skills so that this wonderful opportunity will be available for them as well!  If you have any ideas to help us make this happen, we are listening…

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