January 15, 2020

Emakina laptops support HackYourFuture Belgium

Posted by Thomas Halter

Created in Amsterdam in 2015, HackYourFuture is a training program that empowers refugees and migrants through a 6-month Developer course. It was intended as an open curriculum and can be freely replicated wherever it may be useful. Thus, in May 2018, the program was launched in Brussels with the support of both the public and the private sector. Last December, Emakina hosted a presentation given by a HackYourFuture Belgium coordinator and one of its latest graduates.

This special coding school prepares its students to integrate the workforce with a mix of programming lessons, mentoring and networking. So far, 90 students have enrolled in 6 classes of 15 people, and 25 graduates have already found a job. Support continues after they start working, as the organisation collaborates with employers to ensure the transition goes smoothly.

Empowerment through coding skills

With 21 different nationalities at Emakina.BE alone, we know the added value of diversity in the workplace and naturally support HackYourFuture Belgium. During one of our weekly lunchtime talks, when Emakinians’ hungry minds attend presentations and crash courses about various tech, creative and business-related topics, Project Coordinator Maïté Cluydts and HackYourFuture graduate Fatmah Sumer came to present the project.

How to support the project

Emakina donated 15 HP and 10 MacBook Air laptops to help HackYourFuture achieve its 2020 objective: offering 90 additional students the possibility to follow the cursus. Every little gesture counts: people and companies who wish to donate funds and/or hardware, become a mentor or support the initiative in any way can contact the organisation via contact@hackyourfuture.be.

HackYourFuture Project Coordinator Maïté Cluydts (left) and HackYourFuture graduate Fatmah Sumer (right) during their presentation at Emakina.
“Many of us encountered traumatic hardships before coming to Belgium”

Fatmah Sumer, 35, left her country in 2017, when its political climate became a threat to both her career and basic human rights. She recently graduated from Hack Your Future after obtaining a master’s degree in Educational Studies from KU Leuven. Besides coding skills, she also gained soft skills thanks to her mentors. “All my coaches I’m still in touch with, and I will keep in touch with my classmates“, she says. “The alumni and students form a very tight community, which is incredibly helpful, as many of us encountered traumatic hardships before coming to Belgium. I definitely want to share my experience with future students and try to become a mentor.

We build a community, friendships, and hopefully, a better society”

For HackYourFuture Project Coordinator Maïté Cluydts, 27, besides being a coding school, “HackYourFuture is also a school of life: we build a community, friendships and hopefully, a better society. It’s a hard cursus and we meet people who have been through hell and back, but every little victory is a great one to all involved. We make announcements in class every time a student or alumni finds a job or obtains refugee status, and everyone is happy for them and finds extra motivation for themselves.” Her emotion shivered in her voice as she concluded: “I have to admit I have to fight back tears of joy every time a student calls to tell me they found a job“.

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