Paying Tribute to Young Coders and NPO in Ukraine

Meet and Code pays tribute to the resilient coders in Ukraine, young and old, who continued to advance digital skills in the face of adversity.

#StandWithUkarine #Ukraine #DigitalSkills

As we commemorate the first year since Russia invaded Ukraine, resulting in thousands of deaths, and injuries and leaving millions displaced, we are shining the spotlight on the resilience and courage displayed by the Ukrainian non-profit organizations (NPOs), parents, and children that took part in Meet and Code activities last year.

Despite the destruction and severe disruptions that were brought about by the war, young Ukrainians were more than eager to continue improving their digital skills. This was reflected by our 2022 Impact numbers which recorded 33,700 participants who took part in the initiative, with over 10% (3,600) being Ukrainian refugees based in Europe.
Ukrainian Meet and Code workshops are more important than ever GURT, a Meet and Code partner, coordinated coding events with the Ukrainian NPO Association Noosphere. The NPO is dedicated to promoting science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) skills, and they collaborated to organize VEX Robo Week in Dnipro on October 24-27.

Explaining the workshop, Olga Zima, Social projects lead at Association Noosphere, says that they taught participants to build “dancing robots” to navigate mazes and slalom obstacles. “The robots could even deliver cargo along a specified route.”

Working with mentors, she adds that they learned the basics of building algorithms, Scratch programming and teamwork. “The program was based on VEX 123 and VEX GO, part of the VEX robotics systems, which offers an educational platform and robotic constructors for education and competition and is quite popular in the US and Europe.”

“One of the tasks for the young engineers was to assemble a spirograph robot to draw beautiful spiral patterns,” she explains. “The children painted 50 postcards with the help of these robots, and the organizers will be delivering them to the soldiers of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

“Our big dream is to show the world that Ukrainians are talented in different spheres. Participants from Ukraine have already become winners and prize-winners at international robotics competitions. But not in VEX robotics, we are not very familiar with this direction. With this initiative, we introduce young Ukrainian inventors to the best practices in the field,” points out Zima.

Young Ukrainian coders have big plans for their futures:

Two participants of VEX Robo Week decided to enter the Meet and Code Superstar initiative and compete for the opportunity to win a Photon robot. Here’s what some of them had to say:

  • “I started learning robotics and programming just recently. However, this course on VEX from Noosphere helped me to understand that I really want to do robotics in the future and much more - I aim to make new discoveries,” Slavik.
  • “The workshops opened my eyes to endless possibilities for my future career,” Alevtyna. "I want to be a Zoologist, and with the knowledge, I learned during VEX Robo Week, I think I will be able to control the robot that will be my assistant as I research faunas the steppers, forests and seas of Ukraine.” 
In addition, we received entries from participants who took part in the Arduino Workshops hosted by Ukraine's Oleksandriia Central Library. These young Ukrainians have big dreams! Here’s what they had to say:
  • “I am attending workshops on Arduino and creating traffic lights. I would like to use it together with my classmates to learn traffic rules,” Dima.
  • Igor and Dania, “We liked Arduino workshops and will keep attending them to develop new projects and get new experiences.”  
Meet and Code will continue to stand in solidarity with our Ukrainian partners and the NPOs from Ukraine participating in the 2023 edition, empowering the young generation with digital skills. We are bound together by our shared European identity and our mission to use technology in our effort to strive for a brighter, safer, and more peaceful future. May we continue to stand together in such challenging times, and we take pride in how we, as a “Tech for Good” community, can come together and use #TechForGood.