I was fortunate enough to take part in a mini-Hackathon that my focus group held. UWCSEA East Amala student group and UWCSEA Dover students along with several teachers, all worked together to edit several different courses that are part of the Amala Diploma. Last year I took part in the Amala Hackathon, which was a great opportunity not only to build my leadership skills but also communication and collaboration skills by working with many individuals that come from different backgrounds in order to draft an ‘English for Changemakers course’. Amala is a global High School that combines digital and in-person learning for refugees and was conceived in 2016, in response to the gap in quality education provision for displaced youth. Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, the mini-hackathon was held online, however, I felt that this was a much more convenient way for more individuals to take part in this great experience.
As there were several different courses that were needed to be edited, we split up into groups of three and were allocated a course each to work on. I was allocated to the ‘Social Entrepreneurship’ course and worked with two other students from UWCSEA Dover. Although I anticipated our separate group google meet to be awkward as we were all not familiar with one another, however, due to our overlapping interest in Amala we were able to share our passions and discuss many different ideas that I felt was a great opportunity for me to come out of my comfort zone and work with new people.
During this mini-hackathon, the aims for my group and I was to go through weeks 6-10 of the social entrepreneurship course and identify suggestions for the course leaders. This may include language complexity, appropriate instructions, and checking to see if links were accessible for the facilitators at Amala. These courses are aimed to help refugees aged 16-25 and are developed to guide students to use the skills they develop to create positive change in their communities, which I feel is essential especially in the current world that we are living in. As a group, we were able to work time efficiently and got through weeks 6-10 of the social entrepreneurship course, and even edited weeks 1-5 of the ‘Economics for Positive Change’ course.
I joined the Amala UWCSEA East student group in grade 9, as it is a focus group that is only open to High School students. Having to go through an interview process in grade 8 and writing an essay to get into this focus group, I do not regret my decision in joining this student group in the slightest bit as it has opened me to many wonderful opportunities and brought various great experiences. Through today’s mini-hackathon I have learned so much not only about Amala but also given me many takeaways, but the most significant takeaway is that Amala provides refugees with such interesting and engaging courses, that I feel are all essential components that not only refugees but also students should all learn.
In conclusion, I find it really surprising that even as a grade 11 student, just by taking time out of my weekend to make a positive change towards someone else’s life, which I feel is crucial in today’s world. I believe that as I am provided with all these wonderful opportunities, it is best for me to do the most that I can in order to benefit someone else and potentially make a positive difference.