Tech camp teaches girls from Mid-East, N. Africa

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- Many young women dream of fame and fortune, of making the world a better place by harnessing the power of technology.

For girls from chaotic regions of the Middle East and North Africa, leaning-in, in the words of Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg, can be an even bigger reach.

But a tech camp at American University is hoping to change the world, one girl at a time.

"It shows that like women are powerful."

Ines Ayara, 16, who is from Tunisia, is just one of two dozen amazing teens taking part in the State Department's TechGirls initiative in D.C.

"I've always had that thing inside of me, but I needed that push, that would push me to do something. And now I have it."

The girls from the Mid-East and North Africa are soaking up a three week summer camp in the U.S. designed to empower them with technology and leadership skills they can go back and share with more girls at home.

"They're making things happen, and they're taking what they've learned and transferring those tech skills and leadership skills," said Michele Christle with TechGirls, Legacy International.

Ines is learning Java software, and using it to build a web-based world capital quiz.

"These girls really soak it all up and it's really, really incredible," said Dillon Koval, an ID Tech Camps instructor.

Some of these girls can feel alone in their home countries, but this camp is helping them connect with a global community of tech geeks and tech girls. After camp in D.C., they go on to visit Google, Facebook and Yahoo.

TechGirls started when Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State. Ines says it has inspired her. She dreams of going to MIT, and she's convinced it can help change her country and the world.

"Do you dream you could be the next Steve Jobs?" Bruce asked.

"Why not?" said Ines."You never know."

The State Department says the first 50 girls who've zipped through TechGirls have already reached out and touched 2,000 more people in their home countries.


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