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becoming uncommon

How we started, what we believe, and why.

uncommon banner

we have always been inspired by the youth.

When we first piloted the idea for a free computer coding program in Zimbabwe in 2017, there were a few core questions we set out to answer.

Could we teach coding without reliable internet and electricity? Could we teach coding to new computer users? Would the students enjoy it? Would the schools and parents support us? The answer to all of those questions, and so many more, was an overwhelming, YES.

There was - and still is - an incredible thirst for technology resources and a digital education. There was - and still is - a heartbreaking lack of opportunities for youth & young adults in the communities we work in. We are on a mission to change that.

uncommon we have always been inspired by the youth
uncommon initial plan

initial concept

After a successful pilot program, we spent the majority of 2018 preparing pitch decks, creating business plans, telling the Uncommon story, and trying to raise the money we needed to really get a program off the ground.

The concept at the time was simple. Let’s train unemployed young adults to be after school coding instructors.

We’d be upskilling and creating jobs, while also bringing free coding lessons to 100s of youth. This seemed like a pretty impactful and achievable model, and we were able to quickly get things off the ground.

uncommon dust


Before long, we realized a flaw in the model.

While training unemployed young adults to become teachers was creating jobs, and kids were learning how to code, we didn’t feel as if we were making the type of impact that we knew we could.

The young adults were reaching a ceiling, and their career prospects hadn’t dramatically changed.

So we decided to reorient our model, and to focus most of our attention on the young adults.

uncommon pivoting
uncommon new model

new model

Our new goal was to build a generation of purpose minded, tech savvy and entrepreneurial young adults, and we invested ourselves wholeheartedly into preparing them for meaning full work in the technology industry.

We designed a free, full-time program that would teach the most in-demand and sought after skills in the market, and worked tirelessly to reduce all possible barriers to entry.

With this said, we knew we HAD to continue educating the youth.

Today, when you join an Uncommon Bootcamp, not only are you training for the workforce, you’re also teaching coding to kids in the community through our after school coding program.

our first innovation hub home

As a grassroots organization, it has always been important for us to fully invest into the communities we serve.

Now that we had an education model that we believed was both impactful and scalable, we needed a home to make it official.

We decided to use shipping containers and solar power to deal with a lot of the infrastructure challenges we had been facing. Our first Innovation Hub was built in 2019 (a remarkable story in its own right), and we’ve been off to the races ever since!

uncommon first hub

we are


and this is the code we live by:

We are united.

We stand together, firmly - a team unified by a shared vision for the world. We don’t disparage, we support, because we believe deeply that all ships rise in a rising tide. 

We trust in each other’s sincerity, and we give generously when we see a friend in need. When we are working together, nothing can stop us.

We are noteworthy.

We know our value and we aren’t afraid to be proud. Because it takes hard work to get to where we are. We choose the road less traveled because that’s where all the magic happens.

And we welcome you to join us.

We are creative.

As a team of creatives and entrepreneurs, we think outside the box.

We see problems as opportunities and honor the fact that great challenges bring with them great rewards. Adversity doesnt frighten us, it inspires us. We show our battle wounds with pride because its our diverse experiences that make us who we are.

We are optimistic.

We choose to see the glass half full, because after all, it’s a choice. We recognize the power of the mind and value our mental health. We value yours too.

We don’t believe that math and science are just for boys. We believe in the limitless capacity of the human spirit. When we get knocked down, we get back up and keep moving forward.

We are mission driven.

We respect and embrace our differences, and we believe that everyone brings a unique and valuable perspective to our mission. No matter the position, we believe that everyone’s role is important and critical to achieving our vision for the world.

We respect each other, we respect our work, and we hold in highest regard the donors, volunteers and supporters who empower us to work on behalf of our beneficiaries every day.

We stay in motion.

Procrastination is our enemy, but we’re not afraid to take time to smell the roses. We reflect, we iterate, and we innovate. And we take pride in our achievements.

But we don’t sprint ahead on our own. If you want to travel fast, go alone. If you want to travel far, go together.

We believe in openness.

We are open minded. We are transparent. We are honest, empathetic and act with integrity in everything we do. We don’t hoard our ideas, we share them. We don’t fight and tear each other down, we debate, challenge, critique and learn from our differing points of view.

Knowledge is power, and our mission is to democratize access to the education, resources and tools that are shaping our world.

We have no fear.

We aren’t afraid to be who we are. And we aren’t afraid of who you are either, whoever you are.

We stand up for what we believe is right, and we have the humility to admit when we’re wrong. This is how we learn. This is how we grow. This is how we are uncommon.

uncommon dust

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