Student Spotlight: Shakiba Mirzahi – Graphic Designer




1. Tell us about yourself: (name, age, education, etc)
My name is Shakiba Mirzahi. I’m 20 years old. Now, I’m a junior studying Art at Herat University.

2. How did you find out about Code to Inspire? Tell us about your journey to CTI, how do you compare yourself now from the very first day you joined CTI?
My brother found it, actually, on Facebook. Since joining, my ability in graphic design has improved tremendously.

3. What have you learned so far in your Graphics and Design class? and what do you like about it the most?
I’ve learned a lot and now I can’t stop coming up with concepts about graphics and design. Generally graphics and design is my favorite field and the most favorite part of graphics and design is drawing, portraits, and animation

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4. Tell us about one of the digital paintings you have done so far and like the most? Is there a message behind it?
I made this graphic about the relationship between mothers and daughters that I like the most:

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5. What is your message to people around the world as a girl in Afghanistan?
As an Afghan girl studying art in college, I want Afghan women to know that they should never sacrifice their success due to the everyday challenges we face. If enough of us preserve in our goals, Afghan women will be able to accomplish so much. As you know, Afghan women face many challenges and every day we fight against these challenges until we become successful and I am sure that one day Afghan women will come over.

6. Tell as the fun fact about yourself
I like vegetables and fruit. It’s all I will eat. My family members try to convince me to eat meat, but I have not eaten it yet. Please pray for me that they will accept me as a vegetarian!

Watch Fereshteh’s Speak at MIT Solve


Feresheteh had the exciting opportunity to discuss Code to Inspire (and the future of the world, its problems, and solutions generally!) with the Editor in Chief & Publisher of the MIT Technology Review, Jason Pontin, and Stanford Researcher/Curer of cancers, Jack Andraka.

Speaking to what they want the world to look like by 2050, they discuss encountering adversity and finding its solutions.


In Conversation With Hackathon Winner, Hayedah Rasouli

Read on to learn about how Hayedah is uses coding as a tool to both express herself and save homeless children!

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

CTI: Thanks for taking the time to speak with us! Tell us about yourself.

HR:  I am 21 years old, I have studied web design for 2 years at Code to Inspire, and I studied English language at literature faculty of Herat University. I also studied ICDL at USWDP.

CTI:  How did you find out about code to inspire? Tell us about your journey to CTI, how do you compare yourself now from the very first day you joined CTI?

HR: I found out about Code To Inspire from one of our family friends. When I heard about it, I thought we would learn about computer programs like Microsoft Suite. I didn’t have the frame of reference to understand what we even would study!

My sister and I came to the school, and on the first day we were shocked by what we saw and learned.

I will never forget how, on the first day, our teacher said, “HTML is like the foundation of a house, and CSS is how you design your house.” That really motivated me, but I was overwhelmed. How could I learn to do all that? Then, I realized the things I could do with coding. It was beyond all of my wildest dreams to be honest. I could finally show the world my point of view, all of my wishes, what I’m made of.

When I look back now at my first day at Code to Inspire, I think it’s safe to say it’s the best thing that happened in my life. I am so happy that I have an outlet through coding and web design to express myself.

CTI: What programming languages or framework you have learned so far?

HR:  We have studied HTML, CSS, Javascript, jQuery, Bootstrap framework, and now we are studying WordPress. I feel more powerful now than I did on my first days of school, and I am eager to become a Professional Front-end Web developer in future. I have so many ideas to help my people solve their problems by coding! I want to share their strengths and weaknesses to the world to have a better country and people!

CTI:  Your group is one of the winners of our March 2017 Hackathon in Herat, tell us about your project and what issue it is addressing?

HR: We wanted to help the homeless children in Afghanistan. it is a very complex problem that we face today as our country has many orphans, and there’s no clear solution. While we know it’s not something we alone can solve today or next week or in five weeks, we wanted to do something to address it. Someone has to!  So I set out three different solutions

  • Through coding, I can raise awareness of this issue and create a platform where Afghans and people around the world can donate money every month to the orphans.
  • Leverage the power and ubiquity of smartphones, and create an app where it’s easy to send the homeless children money.
  • Collect data on which parts of the city need the most help, and mobilize volunteers to go and facilitate donations.

I wanted to create three-pronged approach, so that there’s an option for everyone to get involved.  Our goal, ultimately, would be to raise enough money to create a safe shelter for these children where they have access to school, sports, and food and ultimately find a better life for themselves. If we’re able to help these children, Afghanistan’s next generation, a lot of other issues will settle too like illiteracy and lack of education.

CTI: What is your message to people around the world as a girl in Afghanistan who is a coder?

HR: My message as an Afghan coder girl is that women can do and change any thing that they want and they each other’s strongest supporters. They just need to achieve their rights – rights that have been taken from them. We need more schools like Code to Inspire so that more people will appreciate and support our progress.

Fereshteh and our teachers are making this possible! I really want people to know though that girls who code can solve problems well beyond just herself: she can help her entire society.

CTI:  Tell as the fun fact about yourself

HR: Everything I do, I do to help impoverished Afghans. I have big dreams, and I want to create charities all over the world – beyond just Afghan orphans. I want to save orphans all over the world.


Meet Our Hackathon Winners, Morsal Fakoori and Bustan Hashemi!

Today, we’re speaking with two of our hackathon winners. Together, they developed a program to help fundraise for the homeless in their community. Read on to learn more about their experience and their work at CTI.

  1. Tell us about yourself.

Hi I am Morsal Fakoori. I am 18 years old and graduated from 12th grade in 2016. I am interested in Dental, Medical, and Computer Science. I have many goals in each field.

  1. Tell us about what brought you to CTI and how it’s changed you.

Code to Inspire (CTI) is one of the best experiences of my life. I’ve achieved so much as a result of the program.  It’s the best place for girls to improve their coding skills. I really love CTI because my coding has improved so much while I’ve been enrolled.

  1. What programming languages or framework you have learned so far?

Before CTI, I knew HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Bootstrap, JQuery and now I am learning WordPress and Graphic.

  1. Your group is one of the winners of our March 2017 Hackathon in Herat. Congratulations! Tell us about your project and what issue it aims to address.

Our group is so lucky to be a Hackathon winner. In our project, we tried to help those in need, specifically children and orphans who live in poverty. We wanted to use our coding to find solutions to some of their problems.

  1. Why you think learning to code is important for women in Afghanistan?

It’s difficult for women and girls to find work in Afghanistan, so coding is a good option because it’s possible to work from home and still earn money.

  1. What is your message to people around the world as a girl in Afghanistan who is a coder?

Let’s start a revolution through coding and show the world that girls can code and develop amazing apps and websites!

  1. What else do you want us to know about you?


I think very deeply about every issue in my life, and I work really hard to achieve every goal I set for myself. I’m funny and I have a ton of dreams and ambitions that I intend to reach.


  1. Tell us about yourself.

This is Bustan Hashemi, I am 18 years old and I am in 12th grade at Goharshad High School. I was born in Turkmenistan in 1999. I can speak in Dari, Turkish, and English.  

  1. Tell us about what brought you to CTI and how it’s changed you.

Attending to CTI has changed my life completely for the better. I never even thought that one day I would be able to code.

  1. What programming languages or framework you have learned so far?

So far, we have learned some easy and interesting ones such as HTML, CSS, JavaScript, JQuery, Bootstrap and now WordPress.

  1. Your group is one of the winners of our March 2017 Hackathon in Herat. Congratulations! Tell us about your project and what issue it aims to address.

We wanted to help orphans and children in poverty. It’s become a serious problem in our community. The website we developed lets us collect money and help and support these children.

  1. Why you think learning to code is important for women in Afghanistan?

Learning to code in Afghanistan is very important because women and girls can learn and improve the country and solve our society’s problems.

  1. What is your message to people around the world as a girl in Afghanistan who is a coder?

We girls have the ability and capacity to learn code and develop applications so please trust us ☺

  1.  What else do you want us to know about you?

I am  impatient and quiet.

Interview with CTI mentor Saboor Rahmani


Short bio of yourself?


I am Saboor Rahmani and I was born on August 1989 in Herat, Afghanistan. After completing high school diploma, I have started computer science faculty on 2010. In 2013 I have successfully accomplished my bachelor degree and graduated from network department.

Q2. What was the reason you joined CTI as?


Miss Fereshteh Forough was my active and hardworking teacher and I have known her since starting computer science faculty in Herat. She founded Code to Inspire (CTI) on 2015, from the first days that CTI established, I have started helping her team as an honorary employee in Herat. Fortunately, on December 2016 Miss Forough the founder of CTI and Hasib Rassa CTI manager, suggested me to work as a finance and logistics employee, luckily this was a big chance for me to become an official member of CTI. I believe that empowering the women will raise up the knowledge and culture in the society, this was my big reason, why I am joint CTI.


As a man pursuing a career in tech, why do you think it is important for women in Afghanistan to learn to coding?


Since technology and coding are growing in Afghanistan, therefore this is a good chance for girls to start and grow their knowledge in coding. Also coding is a best way of earning money for girls, because they can work and code from home, office and other areas that no one can disturbing them.


How do you see the progress of students from the very first day until now?


As I said, from the first days that I started honorary cooperating with CTI, I did not believe so much that CTI will be the first coding school in Afghanistan with lots of achievements. But after a limited time I found that this center is different from others, I found that CTI coding school really works to empower the girls and women society in Afghanistan. I exactly remember the first days that the school students were not familiar with coding, but nowadays each one of the students can design a website. CTI school held a Hackathon contest between students on March 2017 on the occasion of women’s solidarity month. On the last day of hackathon, the students presented their projects with demos, I was really surprised with their ideas and applications they built.


If you want to share a message to people around the world about Afghanistan what it would be? 


Afghans are talented and hardworking, the only challenge on their way is lack of peace and quietness which is their big dream for long times.


Tell us a fun fact about yourself?


When I face any problem, I always want to have my own solution and like to find the easy way of solving that problem. This will method increase my self-confidence and help me try more.

Code to Freedom: One CTI mentor on the empowerment coding brings

Code to Freedom: One CTI mentor on the empowerment coding brings

Code to Inspire Mentor

I was born in Herat Afghanistan where I am originally from. I was brought up here. I finished school in 2008 and signed up for the University entrance exam which is the most difficult governmental exam to open the gate to the university.

Computer Science was my first choice for my major, and I was fortunate enough to earn my diploma in computer science in 2013.

After I was done with University, I got the opportunity to work in a public diplomacy program, World In Conversation run by Penn State University. The project was to hold video conversations between Afghan university students and American students as well as NATO cadets. First, I started working as a dialogue facilitator and then became the lead coordinator.

Fereshteh Forough was my university teacher. She was such an inspiring figure in the university and everyone counted on her. She was not only kind to me, but also to everyone in the class. Her kindness and inspiring attitude made her unitinimating, and we spoke often. As a result of our teacher/student relationship, our mutual respect for each other, and similar values, she brought me on the ground floor to Code to Inspire. While I was working, she emailed me about founding a school for girls who are interested in computer science. Her idea amazed me. It was such an honor to be helpful to someone who is so strong and determined. Her plans, determination, mission and vision inspired me to work with her.

As the project manager, I feel strong and determined. We started this entire project from nothing. I can remember painting the walls and appointing the classroom with tables and chairs. We were a completely new phenomenon to our society. And now we are well-known enough. There are a lot of students who know and love our work.

I believe in women’s empowerment, and never underestimate it. I think women should work in tech because they are more innovative than men. They have good ideas and dedicate more time to it. Coding is better and more comfortable for women in Afghanistan because they can code from the safety of their own home. Seeing my students’ passion for coding reinforces my belief that women were born for it. Because in Afghanistan women aren’t exactly allowed or do physical work or to work in the same place as men. adjust Afghanistan is improving, particularly in terms of technology, so women can and should make up half of the tech society.

I wouldn’t imagine young school girls could learn how to code because I couldn’t do it as an adult man, which is why I studied computer networking to escape software engineering. But now when I see them learning with passion and enthusiasm, I feel like participating in the coding classes as a student. Both our school students as well as university students have made tremendous developments in CTI school. They can design websites, develop video games and mobile Apps. This is incredible and not every man or woman can do it. They have experienced two Hackathons in 2016 and 2017 hosted by CTI. Students will be so excited to come to our school and begin coding that they won’t even eat! They’ll show up hungry to avoid wasting time eating or in in transit.They come directly to CTI after they are dismissed from their schools or universities.

I want to say to the world that people are weary of war and terror in Afghanistan. Our people are trying to make Afghanistan a better place, and education is crucial to that. We are studying in the dust, under the hot sun, and in the cold under the storm of freezing snow. We are a strong nation and we’re continuing to educate ourselves despite the fact that there is an ongoing war in our country. The Taliban burning our schools down doesn’t stop us.  And I am saying to the world that now our girls are coding to fight ignorance and build Afghanistan 2.0. This is not small. This will impact our entire society since tiny acts can have profound effects.

The fun fact about me is that I am afraid of coding myself. If I were to pick between collapsing a mountain and coding a simple website, I would definitely collapse the mountain in a day. This is true with most of my male friends. That is why I am more optimistic about females.


In Conversation with Ehsan Ehrari: Computer Science Student & CTI Mentor Extraordinaire

This week, we spoke with one of male mentors about what motivated him to join Code to Inspire, his students’ progress, and the larger implications of the program for Afghanistan. Read on to learn more!

Tell us about yourself.

I’m 22 years old, and I study software engineering in the computer science department at Herat University.

What was the reason you joined CTI as a male mentor to teach girls coding?

I wanted to join a cause that helped the women of my country  solve many of the economy, security, and social problems they encounter every day.

Which programming languages and subjects are you teaching your students?

I am teach them how to make games with Unity Game Engine and the C# programming language.

As a man pursuing a career in tech, why do you think it is important for women in Afghanistan to learn to coding?

Due to security and familial restraints, women can’t go outside the city to work. I think through technology, they can make a good income much more easily than without it. Also learning programming skills can empower Afghan women to become financial independent.  

How do you see the progress of your students from the very first day until now?

I remember my first day at Code to Inspire some students didn’t have a lot of knowledge about programming, specially gaming. Now they can easily make their own games. They improve quickly and work very well.

If you want to share a message to people around the world about Afghanistan what it would be?

I hope that the skills I’m teaching these women will bring Afghanistan greater peace and security.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself.

Everyday I love coding more than the day before. Still, today I don’t love it as much I’ll love it tomorrow.

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We are pleased to announce that we are hiring! The Code to Inspire team is looking for a fundraising professional to help us expand our reach and carry out our 2017 goals. Maybe you are interested or know of a skilled fundraiser who should apply?

Check out the job description below and email any questions to  

We look forward to hearing from you!



Do you want to take part in a project aiming to educate and empower girls in Afghanistan? Do you want to help an emerging organization grow and scale? Code to Inspire is looking for a fundraising contractor to join the team and help us expand our reach and achieve our goals for 2017.

Our Mission and Background:

Code to Inspire (CTI) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit committed to teaching female students in Afghanistan how to code and find work online. Courses in coding, access to tech & professional resources, and job placement will enable CTI students to attain employment that is both financially rewarding and socially accessible. In areas where women’s travel can be heavily restricted, the ability to work remotely is a key tool in the push for equality. Access to the wealth of the global tech economy enables CTI students to add unique value to their households and their communities, and to challenge the traditional gender roles in Afghanistan with the best argument out there; results.

Description of Need:

We are looking for a fundraising professional to join Code to Inspire Are you interested in forwarding the work of Code to Inspire and helping us in reaching our fundraising goals for 2017? Do you have connections to global foundations and an understanding of the fundraising  process? Do you have a track record of success in fundraising for nonprofit organizations? If yes, we would love to hear from you! A plus – an understanding of Afghanistan and the non profit tech space.

This is a contract position and payment will be negotiated based on the candidate’s skill set and experience.

Description of Desired Outcomes:

At the end of the 2017, we would like to see the following concrete outcomes:

  • At least $40,000 in incremental fundraising
  • Significantly expanded donor network
  • Assist CTI’s Executive Director with establishing fundraising best practices.

Email a resume, cover letter and a reference to We look forward to hearing from you.


In Conversation with Code to Inspire mentor, Aalem Daneshyar

AalemThis is Aalem Daneshyar a 29 year-old, a 2013 graduate from the Software Engineering department of Computer Science faculty, Herat University. Aalem is one of Code to Inspire’s stellar mentors whose guidance and expertise help the women at Code To Inspire reach their full coding potential. Without Mentors like Aalem, CTI would not be possible!

Why did you join CTI as a male mentor to teach girls coding?

Code To Inspire was established for a great cause; to empower Afghan women and to help eliminate the gender gap in technology. This was enough inspiration for me to join CTI in November 2015.

What programming languages and subjects you are teaching?

We have decided to teach our students one of the cross-platform application development frameworks. These are less expensive and time consuming than native mobile application development. Most of these frameworks, especially the one we use, called Appcelerator, require knowledge of web technologies like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, I started by teaching them these.

As a man pursuing a career in tech, why do you think it is important for women in Afghanistan to learn to coding?

Most people, in almost every country, believe that women are not meant for coding or technology. I think it’s time to change that belief and to prove that women can be as good as men in technology.

Today the number of working women in Afghanistan is increasing compared to a few years back, so there will be higher chances for them to be employed as programmers. CTI students can also establish a company of their own or get online employment as a programmer. Therefore the knowledge of programming and coding can be vital to them.

How do you see the progress of your students from the very first day until now?

When they joined CTI they had a very limited knowledge of mobile applications, now they are able to implement their ideas and create mobile applications for Android and iOS platforms.

If you want to share a message to people around the world about Afghanistan what it would be?

There is more to Afghanistan than just the clashes and war reflected through media. We are helping to build Afghanistan version 2.0, by educating Afghan women how to code.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself?

I like fixing things and solving problems, especially computers and mobile phones. Sometimes it takes weeks to solve an operating system issue on an android phone.

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