December 9, 2019

Samaira Mehta from CoderBunnyz talks on being the girl who codes and inspires others

Some months ago we read a story on Samaira and were fascinated on how as a ten year old the young one is literally crossing miles and boundaries. Samaira Mehta is a kid entrepreneur, runs her own company CoderBunnyz, she is a coder, a motivational speaker, a facilitator and much more which other kids perhaps aren’t at her age. She is also one of those lucky and more importantly worthy ones who has been offered a job at Google, has received a letter of appreciation from First Lady Michelle Obama, has spoken about her project to Mark Zuckerberg. Need we say more?

Mums and Stories reached out to this interesting kid and we can say that the kid is still like a regular ten year old, but with a difference. Here’s what Samaira has to say on her journey. “ So it’s a really funny story, now that I think back to it, actually. Few years back, my dad did a little prank on me. He showed me something on his laptop that had one button and command that said: “Press this if you are beautiful”. He asked me to give it a try, But when my mouse pointer touches the button the button disappeared. I was like, how did you do that? Am I not beautiful, what’s going on in here? He said this was made by coding and then I was like “I want to do that too” and that’s where it all started.

Most of the learning I have done is with the support and guidance of my parents and taking online classes. Yes, they actually encouraged me and showed me options. So after getting started at coding when I was 6, I have spent my past 4 years learning different programming languages and writing code in Scratch, Java, Python. And I have learned over the past some years that programming is such a powerful art. Almost everyone does it in their everyday life one way or another.

 

After inventing CoderBunnyz I have done over 150 workshops with my board game in Silicon Valley, teaching over 5500 kids, including over 50 at Google HQ.  I also started an initiative Girls U Code to teach coding to underrepresented girls. I have also been doing a lot of speaker events including being the youngest speaker at MWC19 Barcelona, C2 Montreal Canada, CMG impact Women in Tech, Microsoft SVF, Apinxt and at over 50  tech events in the US and internationally. I was also invited to be part of the NASDAQ closing bell ceremony. I started “Yes One Billion Kids Can Code” with the goal of getting all 1 billion kids in the world into coding and computing science by 2030. The mission has grown leaps and bounds and is now spreading in Africa, China, Japan, Singapore, Europe and other parts of world. I plan to bring that also in India soon. Overall, it’s has been a great journey and I am humbled by the support of the community for my work.”

Samaira’s family is indeed involved in getting her groomed with her mum supporting her to answer and manage social media, marketing, dad teaching initially coding and been the overall advisor and even younger sibling trying out new games invented by her.

 

(Samaira Mehta with her mum).

Talking about her meeting with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, Samaria mentions quite casually, “So I met Mark at his home during Halloween. It was a long line outside his home and after waiting patiently for 30 minutes, I got to go in and do “trick or treat”. He is an amazingly sweet person and I got to talk to him for a quick short while. I mentioned what I was working on and how coding has changed my life and my work for helping bring more girls in computer science. He said I was doing great and keep doing what I was doing to bring down the gender gap in technology.

For Google, I did two back to back CoderBunnyz coding workshops at the headquarter and I met their CCO Stacy Sullivan afterward. We were supposed to talk for 10 minutes but our conversation lasted for over an hour. She offered me the opportunity to join google once I am done graduating with college. It was very honoring.”

Talking about if life has changed for the young kid, Samaria shares with Mums and Stories, “To me, there is no difference. I am still a normal kid, school, homework, etc., but I invest time in doing workshops at companies, libraries, schools, towards my mission of ‘ Yes one billion kids can code’. It is my mission, by the time I go to college, I want to ensure that all 1 billion kids in the world that do not have access to coding tools have already started their path towards coding and computational thinking.  That would be by 2030!

My advice would be for all parents to provide options and support all kids to explore, observe, ask questions. Once kids have options they will decide what they like, what they don’t. They will actually build a lot of passion, all by themselves. For kids, logical thinking and problem-solving are very important and that’s something that we do every day. If kids are interested in technology and science there is so much awareness and programs today.

So encourage them to go ahead, explore programs and tools.  Find the one that matches you and pursue. Start with those small and then build up your base to match your interest and go up.”

Mums and Stories wishes this inspiring kid the very best in life and hopes kids like her are able to make a difference in sectors where required for a better future.

(Photographs are subject to copyright)

 

 

 

 

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