December 17, 2018 – The Hunger Project hosted a CNN Hero Reception and Round Table on Young Women’s Empowerment and Employment in Nigeria. Our special guest was Abisoye Ajayi-Akinfolarin, Founder and CEO of Pearls Africa Foundation.
Abisoye Ajayi-Akinfolarin is one of the 2018 top 10 CNN’s Heroes of the Year (click here to see her in action in Nigeria!) for her work to bridge the gender divide in Nigeria’s growing technology sector. A computer programmer by training, Abisoye left her successful career in Lagos, Nigeria’s “Silicon Valley” where Google and Facebook have set up offices, to found the Pearls Africa Foundation. She hopes that through her foundation she will be able to break the cycle of poverty for girls by exposing them to new possibilities for career and life through coding and technology.
Pearls Africa Foundation helps girls transform their lives and achieve economic independence through ten educational and training programs in STEM+ that will enable their long-term participation in the economy. The foundation provides functional skills such as technology training, coding and computer programming, entrepreneurship, and mentorship and internship placements to young girls living in slum villages of Lagos.
Core programs include:
- Girls Coding – digital literacy training for girls age 7-17
- Lady Labs – technology and shared work space
- Empowered Hands – vocational training
- Safe Space – mentorship and advocacy program
- Community Outreach – community feeding program
- Medical Outreach – free health care assistance
- Educate Her – scholarship program
- School Outreach – mentorship for secondary school aged girls
- Internship Placement – pre-career opportunities with IT companies