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Abisoye Ajayi-Akinfolarin: The Coding Hero

Abisoye Ajayi-Akinfolarin was born in May 1985 at Akure, Ondo state. Life began for her after the death of her mother when she was just four. She soon found love in computers when she visited her brother’s friend business centre at the age of 10.

Her love for Microsoft Word made her join an IT firm as an intern after secondary school. After her education at the Nigerian Institute of Information Technology (NIIT), she attended the University of Lagos and graduated with a BSc in Business Administration.

Ajayi-Akinfolarin landed a role as an intern with E.D.P Audit and Security Associates before climbing to the level of Associate Consultant.

In 2013, a survey by the government found that less than 8% of women held professional, managerial and technology positions. Moved by the number of girls who are unskilled in computer programming, she left her job to set up a foundation that caters to these needs.

Ajayi-Akinfolarin established founded Pearls Africa Youth Foundation in 2012 which was designed to reach girls in disadvantaged areas. As such, her foundation organised various programmes including GirlsCoding, G.C Mentors, GirlsInSTEM and Empowered Hands. “I believe you can still find diamonds in these places. They need to be shown another life”, she says.

Since then, Pearls Africa has trained over 400 young girls. Her foundation has enabled girls to try to bridge the gap between the poor and the rich as well as make efforts to put an end to female genital mutilation.

A women’s rights activist, she was recently named “CNN Hero of the Year”. This year, she joins nine other people the world who will receive $10,000 in support of their heroic endeavours.

CNN, while describing her, has said that her efforts make her worthy of this new status.

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