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Happiness is in Small Things

Coding Girls in Mozambico
Foto Pexels Rethaferguson

Happiness is in Small Things

Happiness is in Small Things

Coding Girls in Mozambique: training session in the Province of Niassa.

"How would you describe yourself? What is the object that represents you the most?” This is how the exchange began on Friday 19 April for Programme Coding Girls in Mozambique amongst twenty students in the Province of Niassa and six students and coaches from the Fondazione Mondo Digitale. An on-line cultural exchange that began with an engaging exercise to break the ice: each participant carefully chose an object that represented them, their culture, their history, or their identity: a ring depicting a tree for Lara, a coloured pen for Priscia, a book on the rights of girls and boys in the world for Giulia, and a microphone for Cecilia for her passion for the radio - just to mention a few". The session is described by Elisabetta Gramatica, who coordinates the project with the support of Ilaria Graziano, Project Manager.

This was followed by the main activity – the "Mozambique Express" as we called it – in which the Mozambiquan students split into groups to help the Italian students create a travel itinerary in Mozambique. Each group worked on a single day, selecting a hotel, recommending typical food, and suggesting an activity. The latter included walks along white beaches known as the “small Brazil” as suggested by Priscia, a lunch of shiina with manioca flour, a visit to the Niassa Lake, the Mozambiquan name of Lake Malawi which is the third largest in Africa and has breath-taking landscapes. With pride and enthusiasm, each group presented stimulating proposals to explore the cultural and natural riches of the African country.”

“Thanks to the twenty students and their turors Aurora and Melba, thanks to Micol Ferretto for always being by our side during these precious moments of cultural enrichment, and thanks to the Coding Girls Team and Coaches from the Fondazione Mondo Digitale. Experiences such as these – exchange, cultural comparison of traditions and curiosities – remind us of how beautiful simple things can be, such as describing an object or imagining a journey through a distant country. After all, happiness resides in small things. All we have to do is be aware of it.



Cecilia Stajano, Community Coordinator for the Fondazione Mondo Digitale: “Meetings with our friends in Mozambique are always full of emotion and charm. Every on-line connection is like opening a window onto a world. I wish I could ask the girls about everything. It's extraordinary when they tell us about their lives. In the end, we really learn that beyond the different latitudes, we all love to read or write to learn more and evade, and that we are much more similar than we think. It turns out that what truly unites us is being empathetic about life situations. These meetings are like a balm on race days. I believe that we actually gain more than them. They give us so much and it would be nice for them to understand it, starting from our smiles."

Claudia Bono, former Coding Girls participant from Salerno: “Coding Girls in Mozambique was a beautiful experience that allowed me to learn about the culture, the food, and the places to visit in Mozambique. Notwithstanding the distance, I could see that the eyes of the students were full of curiosity and how they interacted, chatting, and smiling. This was an unforgettable learning, growth, and sharing experience. Last year, I had the opportunity to participate in Coding Girls in Salerno and meet with the students. I explained to them how to create a mobile app and use the Marvel Platform. Both experiences provided us with precious moments for growth and learning. The class in Mozambique introduced me to a different reality, enriching my cultural baggage and my understanding of the world. On the other hand, the Italian classes allowed me to fully enjoy education, confirming my desire to become a teacher. In both cases, I am grateful for these enriching experiences.”

Giulia Melissari, educator: “After these meetings, one always feels more enriched.  It really was like going on a true journey! It was a unique opportunity that allowed me to understand that the world is really not that big. We are really not so distant from each other and projects like Coding Girls allows to come even closer. Kilometres are just another limit, like stereotypes, that must be torn down!”

Anna Pia Ambrosio, Digital Civil Service: “What struck me the most of this exchange was the young women. They were initially timid and felt out of place, but they were inclusive and easy-going in presenting their proposals and greetings, as if we had developed a great empathy notwithstanding the distance and the cultural and linguistic differences.”  

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