13-year-old Celeste Low’s dream has always been to be a spy and be able to send encrypted messages to people. While she may have some way to go before she becomes an undercover agent, the coding skills Celeste has picked up through Code in the Community have enabled her to build a tool that allows people to send encrypted messages to one another.
Celeste belongs to the first cohort of 500 kids to take part in Code in the Community, a program to bring coding to 3,000 youths from less well-to-do backgrounds across Singapore. The Google office recently came alive with their energy and the ideas they showcased at a graduation ceremony to celebrate their achievements.
Celeste Low showed her project to Senior Minister of State for Finance and Law Indranee Rajah. Her project is based on Caesar Shift, a type of substitution cipher where each letter in the original message is replaced with a letter corresponding to a certain number of letters up or down in the alphabet.
In just 10 short weeks, the program has opened up the eyes of kids as young as eight years old to the opportunities that technology creates and the innovations they might be able to build with it in the future. And the best thing is that they’re having fun while doing it!
Ten-year-old Anesh Ashouk Giri and his 12-year-old sister Anesha Leoraa were strangers to coding before they began the program. But with encouragement from their parents who believe coding is an important skill, they were able to create simple programs in a matter of weeks. Using a Micro:bit—a pocket-sized codeable computer—they built a tool to control the movement of race cars on a track.
Having fun is an important part of learning, and we’ve seen how it stirs curiosity to pick up more advanced skills. Outside the weekly coding class, 13-year-old Keeret Singh Sandhu turned to YouTube to go a step further, teaching himself how to build an app that can authenticate IC numbers. From here, Keeret hopes to create an AI-based product that’ll help kids with their math homework.
These are just some of the inspiring stories we’ve seen come out of Code in the Community, and we can’t wait to see what the kids build in future terms of the program. We’re grateful to our partners 21C Girls and Saturday Kids who deliver exciting classes every week, and to Singapore’s four self-help groups, CDAC, Eurasian Association, SINDA and Yayasan Mendaki, for making this program possible.
Watch what else the kids have to say about Code in the Community:
And check out a few more photos taken on the day: