Student perspectives

A conversation with a stranger


Joanita Nassiwa, Refactory


April 27, 2020

I gather the month of March and the year 2020 has started off on a rather difficult note, bearing in mind the coronavirus pandemic that leaves many worried and in quarantine. Well, here at Refactory, we haven’t lost all hope, so allow us to share some inspiring stories of ladies making a difference in their communities through the Refactory program. Remember Sandra Nanteza, one of the students here at Refactory who came through a partnership with Educating the Children? Here’s a little more about her and the powerful story behind the woman she is today.

Sandra was working for a micro-finance industry with a business administration background. She loved what she was engaged in but hoped to do more. Her journey into tech started with just one conversation with a random stranger on a Wednesday while at a hotel for lunch. The conversation was all-rounded, from business to startups and then tech.

“I once had a chat with a gentleman who advised me to get into the tech industry as he believed it was the future of the economy and if I had any intention of growing my business. With this pandemic, it looks like the gentleman had a point as many countries now rely on technology to keep their businesses afloat.” Sandra said.

Sandra had no experience whatsoever in Tech but went ahead to respond to a call (An advert put out by ETC for girls who were interested in Code at Innovation Village) bearing in mind that she knew absolutely nothing but came with an open mind. “I almost gave up on the program because I struggled to balance work and the new program I was engaged in at ETC. However, I hang in there because I knew it was a good investment of my time.” 

Through the partnership with Educating the Children, Sandra was able to enroll as one of the five ladies who came to take part in the Refactory program. Sandra took the opportunity and gave it 100% emerging as the best student at the User Interface (UI) design in her class. It was challenging, tough and intense, but I was determined to learn as much as I could.” Sandra recalled. 

Sandra giving a speech at the catalyst graduation Class 003.

She made it to the Bootcamp (a select few make it, so yes it is a big deal) and today she’s part of a team developing a digital platform for one of Refactory’s Bootcamp partners, Trustful-Trade while volunteering at ETC as a way of giving back. 

Educating the Children gave me a starting point, an opportunity to dream big, while Refactory gave me the tools, the skills, and the etiquette to not only be good but great in the technological fields. “When I am back at ETC training the young ladies, I have a sense of fulfillment knowing that I was given an opportunity of a lifetime and I now have the chance to give it back and remind any young woman out there that it can be done.

“I am so thankful to the entire ETC and Refactory family that has pushed me to become the woman I am today. Here’s to a successful career in Tech.” Sandra happily concluded

Want to find out what Refactory has to offer? Visit our website and apply to be part of our July 2020 intake.

Also if you are interested in a partnership with Refactory please visit our partner's page for more details on how you can come on board. We look forward to growing the Tech community with you.

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