How I Decided to Teach Arabic-speaking Refugees an Essential Skill: JavaScript Programming

by learn a language journalist

The beginning

At first, I considered teaching Syrian refugees from all over the world a skill that they could easily monetize as employees or even as freelancers. But then I thought all Syrians could benefit from this course (even those who still live in their home country that’s been plagued by war for the past six years). Then I went even further and decided everyone who wants to be a JavaScript programmer and speaks Arabic could join in, irrespective of the country they’re from and of where they are currently located.

Why JavaScript?

The first reason for this is that I am completely in love with JavaScript. Building applications in JavaScript is basically what I’ve been doing every day for the past few years and I’m enjoying it even more as I’m witnessing it evolving and getting bigger and better. Secondly (and perhaps the more important reason) is that JavaScript is incredibly versatile and it is the FUTURE. With it, you can write apps for web, iOS and Android mobile platforms as well as OSX, Linux, and Windows computers.
Nowadays, almost no one asks web application developers about their university degree: all that employers want to know is what you can actually do and whether you’ve got some apps in your portfolio to show. And when you can write a clean JavaScript code, even as a beginner, you’re halfway in through the door. Plus, JavaScript can not only land you a full-time job, but also countless freelancing lucrative gigs. According to a recent 2016 StackOverflow survey , up to 69% of software developers are self-taught and they still make more money than some computer science graduates.

Leveraging the power of learning

Today’s worldwide social crisis started by the Arab revolutions seems to be hopeless, especially for the people who had to flee their homes and acclimate to new countries where they don’t speak the language and they find it hard to get employment.
But anyone can become fluent in JavaScript — it’s a universal language in a very high demand right now. My plan is to empower people with a fundamental skill and thus help them reach their true potential. I know that after a few lessons, most of the passionate students will fall in love with JavaScript just like I did and will continue this journey with me.
Last, but not least, I am convinced that learning is the engine that will set things in motion for people who can’t seem to find their way in the brand new world they’ve been thrown in. Acquiring such an in-demand skills is the best and fastest way for them to get jobs and integrate in their new societies.

Meet the teacher

My name is Zouhir, I was born and raised in Syria. I’m currently a Consultant Software Engineer based at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, the country’s leading bank. But more important than my job is my passion for science and for education. At the age of 17, I won a national web programming award and I was a physics pioneer for two years in a row before that.
I strongly believe that my passion for the right kind of education is what put me on the path that I am now and that I absolutely love, so it is time for me to give something back. I am a fluent Arabic, English and JavaScript speaker and I am more than happy to combine these three skills in order to help people who desperately need some stability in their lives right now.

The process

When I first had this idea, I didn’t think that I would get such an amazing and overwhelming response.
My initial announcement was re-tweeted over 185 times in the first 24 hours. People that I admire a lot supported my initiative: the founder of Elasti c, CouchDB and JSConfeu maker and O’Reilly book author Eric Elliott are just three of them — thank you, guys, your support means the world to me!
In the same 24 hours, I already got 35 responses from people who are serious about learning JavaScript and want to commit. I am so happy to see the interest this has generated, more than I had ever hoped it would. So, my initiative seems bound to turn into something much bigger. I plan to setup a platform where we can all communicate, exchange information and get to know each other — I can no longer simply rely on Skype, as I had planned. Plus, I will create video courses in Arabic, I’ll translate some must-see ones in English and create written scripts, as well.
Please know that I’ve already started working on this, it just might take a bit more than I initially anticipated. I will keep you posted with my progress on this blog, so be sure to check in frequently.
Thanks again for all your support!

This content was originally published here.

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