By Netsai Emmanuellie Zuze, IREX Community Solutions Fellow
Netsai was a visiting fellow at Byte Back through the Community Solutions Program, run by IREX and sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. Back home in Harare, Zimbabwe she serves as a training officer at Nduna Zimbabwe Trust.
“No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.” – Robin Williams
And how right he was. In my four months at Byte Back, I have seen this team come up with ideas and just the right words to bring technological change to the people of DC.
It feels like yesterday when I walked through the doors of Byte Back to join the team. I remember when I was shown to my desk how nervous I was. A thousand questions were going through my head: How was I going to fare for the next four months?
I started with shadowing the instructor for Computer Foundations classes, taking part in fundraising initiatives, and working with the organization’s program team. Then I was asked to instruct a Computer Foundations 2 class for six weeks.
I read the email twice. Taking a class on my own. I really admired how the instructors conducted classes I’d shadowed. Would I be able to match that?
The first day of class, my heart was beating so loud I could not hear myself talk. It was after an hour when I started to relax. Despite my accent, the class understood me, and slowly my confidence was being boosted. I was teaching a different age group from the one I had been used to, people from different background than back home, and I was doing so well.
Byte Back created a safe and trusting environment that did not make me feel scared to ask any question that I had. The experience gave me the opportunity to learn, unlearn, and relearn all I knew.
On top of all this, they gave me the greatest gift – putting their trust in me and realizing my potential before I could. I managed to move away from my place of comfort and faced my fears, and I came out on top.
The opportunities I’ve had at Byte Back made me want to achieve more than I ever imagined, and to reach out as far and wide as I can to empower more people with digital skills. As I prepare to return to my home, I am more committed to this goal and confident in my work than ever.