Meet Abisoye Ajayi-Akinfolarin, Biography, Age, CNN Heroes 2018 Awards Winner

Abisoye Ajayi-Akinfolarin wins CNN heroes of 2018 awards. 

Last week, CNN announced that #IVLP Alumna, Abisoye Ajayi-Akinfolarin has been named as one of the Top 10 CNN Heroes of the Year. Her organization, Pearls Africa Foundation, aids disadvantaged girls in Nigeria gain tech skills to transform their lives.

Abisoye Ajayi-Akinfolarin, a computer programmer in Lagos, Nigeria, teaches impoverished women in the city's slums how to code through a program run by the Pearls Africa Foundation.

Who Is Abisoye Ajayi-Akinfolarin? 

Abisoye Ajayi-Akinfolarin, born Abisoye Abosede Ajayi, 19 May 1985, is a Nigerian women's rights activist. She is the founder of Pearls Africa Youth Foundation, a Non-Governmental Organization aimed at educating young girls in under-served areas in Nigeria with technology skills.

Despite Losing Her Mum At 4, Ajayi-Akinfolarin Becomes The First CNN Hero From Nigeria.

Talking to CNN about life and work, she says growing up was tough for her, after losing her mother at the age of 4, and being regularly beaten by her father.

“Life was just crazy,” she says. “I learned to fend for myself.”

Experience With Computers

Her first experience with a computer was at the age of 10, on a school break, at a business centre run by her brother's friend.

“Learning to type and modify text in Microsoft Word was just beautiful. But I really discovered my love for computers when I joined an IT firm as an intern after high school,” she recalls.

“When I got introduced to the world of computer programming, I was just natural with it. It just flowed. It's all about solving problems. I never knew that I'd be looking for solutions to problems regarding less privileged girls. That is what GirlsCoding is all about.”

With GirlsCoding, Ajayi-Akinfolarin wants the girls to be leaders and change agents. They code towards a purpose, trying to solve problems relating to what they see.

“For example, one project that I really like is called Hope Baskets. The girls wanted to get beggars off the streets, so they created a website to be a bridge between the rich and the poor. They wanted a way where someone can declutter their house and give them a call. Then they take what they're getting rid of — food, clothing, educational materials — and give it to those in need.

“We have another project called Break the Blade, about stopping female genital mutilation. These girls believe there is a lot of ignorance about this and want to be ambassadors on this issue. Eventually, they want to have a wrist band where you can press a button and it calls local authorities to come if FGM is about to take place.

“The fact that they can create solutions to problems makes them feel bold. It is no longer about just coding.”


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