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Mahek vara

Maths and Computer Science student, Durham University

 

And - Founder and CEO, Code Camp; Education activist

There is not a better time than now.

What do you do?

My role in my charity, Code Camp, has been in setting it up and bringing it to life to help bring a computer science education to those children who may otherwise not have the opportunity. The tasks I do range from talking to companies to see how they would be willing to help out and the ground work (currently primarily in India), making sure the projects are all running smoothly to thinking about how we can expand to other locations and how we can adapt our programme to accommodate for changing and new technology. I also am a full time student studying Maths and Computer Science at Durham University.

Why did you choose this field?

"I have reached over 70,000 young people."

The regular trips to India my family and I made each year and my inquisitive mind encouraged me to question why high school leavers in India may not have the full set of skills they need to express their creative designs. I realized that children, at a young age, needed to be exposed to technology so that they can exploit their considerable talents and bring their ideas to life.

 

I set up CC when I was 16 and a year and a half later, I have reached 1,810 schools in Gujarat and am now developing the programme itself while extending the reach of the work to other states in India and also other developing countries. We have currently reached a girls school in Saudi Arabia.

What do you look at and think, "I wish younger me would have known this was possible"?

I think that a lot of achievements fall into this category including being commended by the UK Prime Minister for charity work and being invited to a special reception held in honour of the Commonwealth Heads of Government. I wish younger me would have known that it is possible to be able to reach to so many people and really make a difference.

Why do you love working in STEM?

"There is so much you can do to help others."

I love working in STEM and learning about STEM because it is simply fascinating. There is something new to learn every day and there is so much you can do to help others in terms of creating useful applications and making tasks more efficient so as to help people in their day to day life.

Best advice for the next generation

As a relatively young women in STEM, I would say just go for it. There is not a better time than now!

Fun fact

I've met Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.