Uncommon.org Is Heading to Victoria Falls!

Uncommon.org Is Heading to Victoria Falls!

We have just learned some wonderful news!

Our grant application with the Australian Embassy in Zimbabwe to expand our work into Victoria Falls has officially been approved!

Despite it’s prominence as a world wonder, outside of the hospitality industry, opportunities for young people living in Victoria Falls are fairly limited.

In addition to providing free technology education for youths and young adults living in the Falls, we see this as a great opportunity to begin engaging young Zimbabweans living in the rural areas not far from the town, a first for our team.

And check out this design by our amazing pro-bono partner and award winning architect, Julius Taminiau!

While we’re still in the design phase, we believe this space has the potential to be Uncommon’s flagship location, and we can’t wait to push our creative limits and build a truly inspiring Hub for our beneficiaries!

Special Thanks

In addition to the Australian Embassy in Zimbabwe, we would like to thank the Andrew Sabin Family Foundation, as well as a handful of donors who wish to remain anonymous, for their incredible generosity and commitment to this project!

Get Involved

With their support, we are 70% of the way towards our fundraising goal, which includes construction of the space and 1 year’s operating expenses. 

If you would like to help us reach our goal and bring this amazing project to life, you can make a donation on our website here.

THANK YOU AND SEE YOU IN VICTORIA FALLS!!!

Uncommon.org January Impact Report

Uncommon.org January Impact Report

Things at Uncommon have gotten off to a great start in January, and we just wanted to quickly share some of the highlights with you!

Youth Coding

In January, we had 515 youths from 8 different schools enrolled in our free, after school coding program.

Over the next couple of months, we’ll be rolling out our programs across 40+ schools. Our team can’t wait to be teaching coding to 1,000s of youths every month! 

Bootcamps

We currently have 84 young adults enrolled in our full-time technology bootcamps across our five Harare Innovation Hubs. In January, the students finished the coding module, and have just begun their final crash course in Digital Marketing.

After this module, students will pick a track to specialize in and will be matched with 1 on 1 Mentorship for the remaining 6 months.

If you’d like to be a mentor, please shoot an email to delroy@uncommon.org.  

At our Nedbank Innovation Hub in Emganwini, Bulawayo, 25 students have been accepted from a large applicant pool. These students will begin as soon as our latest shipment of computers arrives from America!

We can’t wait to get started there!

PS

If everyone in that picture looks amazing, that’s because they are! AND, students across our various hubs have begun dedicating one day a week to wearing formal dress. 

One student recently stated the reasons being that, “…how you dress and present yourself often determines how you are respected and viewed by others, and you never know when someone from outside of the organization might stop by. It’s important that you give off a great impression as you never know what might come from that interaction…”

This was all inspired by our Friday Inner Engineering sessions, where recent conversations have been focused on Professionalism and Work Ethic.

Guest Speakers

In January, some amazing guest speakers visited our various Hubs to meet our students.

Lionel Marumahoko (SNR), one of our Zimbabwe Board Members, invited David Gate, Country Director for Trade and Investment at the British Embassy, to join for a conversation that left our students extremely inspired!

We also had the pleasure of welcoming Munyaradzi Sydney Chinzvende, Chief Technology Officer at Zimbotech, an IT Services & Consulting business in Harare to the Nicki Keszler Innovation Hub in Kuwadzana.

Munyaradzi spoke about entrepreneurship, website development and what it takes to start a business in the digital space.

Workshops

We recognize that there are many people that would love to participate in our programs and learn more about the digital world, who are unable to commit to a full-time program.

For this reason, we are introducing part-time courses & workshops to better serve our communities in 2023.

In January, we hosted our first Digital Skills workshop for 16 participants at our Dzivarasekwa Innovation Hub. 

We have also launched a weekend outreach program to bring free coding lessons to youths living in marginalized communities further from our Innovation Hubs. 

Special shoutout to the Uncommon team members and students who donated time on their weekends to teach and empower!

While we have plenty more exciting news to share, we’ll leave it at this for now. 

As always, none of this is amazing work is possible without the incredible support from this Uncommon community. 

Thank you for believing in our mission and empowering our team to make tech more inclusive and accessible!

With Gratitude,

Peter & the amazing Uncommon.org Team

I’m Denzel, And This Is My Uncommon Story

I’m Denzel, And This Is My Uncommon Story

My name is Denzel Takudzwa, a 2022-2023 student at Uncommon.org and that’s a picture from the recent Uncommon 5 Year Celebration.

Can you guess which person I am??

Today, I took over the Uncommon.org mailing list. My goal was to share my story with all of our supporters – so I’m happy to share it here on our blog as well.

Ok so growing up, I’ve always been overly passionate for everything art and technology. And I always dreamed and prayed for an opportunity where I could express myself in that space.

In my head, I kept saying, “When I’m 19, I’m going to apply for a scholarship and go to the UK to study Graphic Design and Software Development.”

But of course that didn’t happen. Life’s not that easy, lol.

When it all seemed as if I had to give up on my dream and choose a different path in life, I met Beaven, a 2021 Uncommon Bootcamp Cohort alumnus, who introduced me to Uncommon.org.

And I’ll be honest, it sounded too good to be true. But, I signed up for it anyway… And I got accepted.

I packed my stuff and hit the road from Kwekwe, a small city in the Midlands of Zimbabwe. Since then, I’ve never looked back. I was enrolled in the bootcamp at the Mufakose Hub, and the experience there has just been phenomenal!

I’d never thought it possible, that all that I’d dreamed about doing after high school, could be done.

I didn’t even have to go to the UK for it. And better yet, I didn’t have to pay!

Thanks to the team at Uncommon, I received my first job offer just 3 months into the bootcamp. At the age of 20.

And things have only looked up ever since!

While I still hope to graduate with Uncommon, I also can’t wait to get started at my first job!

I chose to take this opportunity because I can see the potential for growth at the company I’m joining. I want to see how far I can go, how far I can push myself. I want to increase my creativity and efficiency.

I wasn’t really planning on starting to work this soon but I just told myself, “why not?”

I’m not working to earn, I’m working to learn.

But…it’s great to get paid while I’m doing it! 

For all that Uncommon has done for my life so far, I can only be grateful. For their provision, drive, motivation, and commitment to bettering our lives, I am determined to learn as much as I can so I can give back to the students that will follow in my footsteps.

So thank you Uncommon.

And thank YOU reader, for giving me an opportunity and being a part of my uncommon journey.

Looking Back & Looking Ahead to 2023

Looking Back & Looking Ahead to 2023

As the year comes to an end, our team is filled with immense gratitude for the Uncommon community. 

In a world that is becoming increasingly digital, we believe that a coding & technology education should be universal and accessible to everyone.

Your support of and belief in our mission has meant so much to our young team. 

While we’ll be sharing our 2022 Annual Report soon, we wanted to highlight some of the past year’s accomplishments as well as what we’re excited to be working on in 2023:

2022 Highlights

🚀 Relaunched our youth coding program for 1,235 students across 24 partner schools.

🎓 Graduated 80 Bootcamp students and welcomed an additional 97 unemployed young adults into our 12 month, full-time program.

✏️ Hosted our first teacher training workshops to empower government school educators to teach coding in their classrooms.

👩‍🎨 Designed our first product, the Uncommon Playground – an offline platform to make coding easy, fun and accessible in Shona and Ndebele (Zimbabwe’s two largest languages).

🚧 Broke ground on our 7th Innovation Hub, and began designing our 8th.

We are so proud of the team for accomplishing these (and many more!) milestones in 2022 but we’re only just getting started. 

2023 Goals:

📈 Bring free coding lessons to 5,000+ youths.

👩‍💻 Train 140+ unemployed young adults in our full-time technology Bootcamp.

👨‍🏫 Train 100+ government school teachers in our youth coding curriculum.

💻 Build, test and launch the Beta version of the Uncommon Playground offline desktop application.

🏗️ Build and launch our 7th and 8th Innovation Hubs in Mbare (Harare) and Victoria Falls.

💗 Continue growing the amazing, Uncommon Community

Our goal is to make 2023 our most impactful year yet.

As a charity, none of this work is possible without the amazing generosity of people like you, and we can’t thank you enough. 

If you’d like to make a final contribution to our year end campaign, you can do so here.

If you’d like toget more involved with Uncommon and help in other ways, please simply reply back to this email. We’re always looking for volunteers and would be delighted to welcome you to the team!

Thank you for making this uncommon journey so special. 

Peter

Briget’s Uncommon Story

Briget’s Uncommon Story

When Briget applied to join Uncommon, she was young and recently married with a child of her own. 

She supported her family by selling notebooks and ice-pops on the side of the road not far from the local primary and secondary schools.  

We were inspired by her entrepreneurial spirit. When asked how she’d support her family if she were to join our full-time Bootcamp, she replied that she had already agreed with her husband that he would take over their stall so she could pursue her education.

After completing our crash courses, Briget chose to specialize in Digital Marketing and she wasmatched with a Mentor working for a fin-tech startup in Israel.

Upon graduating from Uncommon, we hired Briget as a junior Digital Marketing instructor where she taught our next group of students, developed her leadership skills and further explored the world of Digital Marketing. 

After finishing our Resume and Interview Prep workshop, Briget began applying for jobs. With multiple offers, Briget was able to negotiate the deal that was best for her and her family.

We couldn’t be more proud!


Our goal is to impact 5,000+ lives in 2023.

In communities where our target demographic is surviving on just $3 per day, access to technology education & employment has the potential for significant positive change. 

If you’d like to help us reach 5,000+ lives in 2023, please consider making a donation to the Uncommon Fund. 100% of your donation will be used to further our free, technology education mission. Thank you so much!

More Uncommon Stories!

More Uncommon Stories!

Last week, after sharing Hannah’s uncommon story on LinkedIn, such a wonderful thing happened.

Another one of our 2022 graduates, Anesu, sent me a message to share her uncommon story. Hearing from our students / graduates and getting to share their stories is absolutely one of the best parts about this job! Here’s what Anesu wrote to me, which she agreed to let me share with you all!

Anesu's Uncommon Story

“I remember last year exactly around this time when my life routine was waking up, preparing my mom’s food pack for work, doing some chores and then sleeping the whole day.

I literally had NOTHING TO DO.

I have a problem with walking around so I spent my days either sleeping or playing with my 3 year old daughter.

I had tried running a business but I was short on capital so I decided to sell airtime which kept me going until one day I thought, “I am more than this.”

I just had to change my life but how I was going to, I didn’t know🤦!!!

I have an Uncle of mine who was Rukudzo Primary’s Chairman, so he told me that there’s an organization named Uncommon teaching people “computers” and he wanted me to apply. Honestly, I was mad at him at first and asked myself “why would I do computers when I’ve already done them in High school?”

I applied anyways since I had NOTHING TO DO, but I still felt like I was wasting my life’s time. I was turning 22 and my baby girl was turning 3, which meant I needed to fill my pockets somehow because in one year my baby was supposed to start going to school and I didn’t have any way of making money to support her.

A little light shone when I went for the interview at the Kambuzuma Innovation Hub. I was told all about Uncommon by Vanessa Kambasha… Uncommon didn’t “teach computers” but rather, they taught how to use computers to design, build & market things – and eventually, how to monetize those skills.

I couldn’t believe it. Imagine going back to school when you least expected it. Yes, I had to fill my pockets but here I got an opportunity free of charge and I didn’t even need transport fare as I live in Kambuzuma just 3 minutes from the Innovation Hub.

Yes, wow. I know because I said that too.

I had an opportunity to learn Website Design, Website Development and Digital Marketing in that one year. I am grateful to my Uncle who introduced me 😅 , it was hard explaining to him what Uncommon taught because technology is still not familiar to some people and parts of Zimbabwe so at the end of the day I just said we will be learning about computers hahaha.”

Anesu is currently working as a Digital Marketing in Harare and we couldn’t be more proud!