Gulasal, Uzbekistan, TechGirl 2021
Update June 2022: Read about Gulasal’s BraveCoder’s Project here, she was recognized with an Outstanding Project Award and has made an incredible impact!
Being a Techgirl has become a part of my identity, and I feel genuinely proud when people call me “Gulasal TechGirl” instead of my last name. This program was super important for me because I felt that this would be my voice and proof that girls also can be independent, successful, educated, free from abuse, poverty and discrimination. The TechGirls gave me a vision towards the future, and increased my motivation to pursue a STEM career. During the program, I was enrolled in an Experience in Molecular Modeling and Informatics (EMMI) course with Virginia Tech University professors, and gained high quality education. This is nearly impossible to have in my city, where the majority thinks that girls don’t need to be educated, but instead be dependent on someone all the time. I was not aware that this subject even existed before the program. The TechGirls program helped me to develop strong friendships, as well as taught us how to cooperate, build the future together, and live in harmony. I believe that this is a great way of maintaining peace all around the world.
My community-based project BraveCoders aims to equip young people with a real experience in technology, as well as developing teamwork and problem solving skills. The project, at first, lasted for two weeks, and the participants had a chance to develop an app that serves society. We worked in three teams, and chose three different problems that would be solved by our apps. After finishing my project, there were lots of requests to continue it. Being motivated from the TechGirls program, I established a volunteering academy that gathered over 90 volunteers across my country who were willing to share their knowledge with the marginalized groups. The academy supports the education of the public, especially poor children and girls from underdeveloped regions, in STEM fields, like technology, biochemistry, mental health, mathematics, social sciences, and more.
In the next two or three years, I am planning to extend my volunteering academy’s operation to an international level, and give it the name “LegacyChildren” in honor of Legacy International. It will be changed into a large volunteering family, and our next steps will include combating early marriage of girls across the globe, and changing their lives by means of a strong tool — education.
My TechGirls experience has not ended here. Now, I set the goal of becoming a TechWoman one day. This program gave me a vast network of TechGirls, TechWomen, and global friends who are always there whenever I need someone to rely on. I feel that we TechGirls, TechWomen, the Legacy International staff – all are a huge family. With this family, we can make a difference in the world. The TechGirls program made a start for global understanding, and our further responsibility is to continue strengthening it.