Lydia was born in one of the slums of Lagos. She is the first child of six, with two younger sisters and three younger brothers. Their father worked in one of the factories that sprawled the outskirts of Lagos, while their mother was a petty trader who sold whatever FMCG her little capital could afford per time.
As soon as Lydia could do her basic maths, she started joining her mother at the shop. She would attend to customers, sum up their purchases and make their changes. Quickly too.
A common response from customers was how intelligent Lydia was. Hearing that always brought a smile to her mother’s lips. Of all her children, Lydia was the smartest and most hardworking.
When Lydia finished junior high school, she began to join some of her friends who hawked in the traffic that stretches along the highway that passes their community. From 4 PM, when the traffic starts to build, she’ll go to a wholesaler who allows her to take a carton of snacks on credit. She will advertise, run after busses, haggle with customers all evening, all in a bid to sell out a carton or two, pay back her supplier, and turn a profit.
Lydia knew that she stood no chance of getting into the university without earning a little and saving as much as possible. Her dream has always been to become a software engineer. If she worked hard enough, she should be able to make it a reality.
In her final year in secondary school, Lydia got a part-time job at a store close to her house. Going out to hawk in traffic wouldn’t afford her enough time to study for her school-leaving exam. At least, between customers, she got to read a couple of lines in her book at the shop. Plus, she didn’t return home as tired as she did when she went hawking.
On the day when Lydia got her examination result, she screamed in delight. She had earned three distinctions and six credits. All of her efforts have been worth it. All she needed to do was ace the university entrance examination, and she was in.
Lydia was optimistic she would trump the exam. Of course, she had no idea what the future held, but she was optimistic still. That was until she returned home from work one day to discover that her father had been unable to work due to illness.
According to her siblings, they opted to get a few drugs from the medicine shop nearby because they could not afford the hospital fees. Lydia tried to convince her father to go to the hospital, but her father assured her that it was a minor illness, and with the drugs he had taken, he should be hale and hearty by morning.
In the morning, rather than turning for the better, her father’s health had gotten worse. He couldn’t even get out of bed. So finally, Lydia had to take matters into her own hands. She rushed out to get a taxi that could help transport her father to the hospital.
After searching fruitlessly for over forty-five minutes, Lydia eventually convinced a taxi driver to come home with her. But, unfortunately, by the time they got to the house, Lydia’s father had given up the ghost. Lydia knew her slim chances of getting into the university died with him.
She could still write the exam, she would probably get an excellent result, she most likely will be offered admission, but with her mother as the sole provider of the family and five siblings to support, there was no way she could afford the tuition fees.
From Africa to Europe, Asia, Central, and South America, the story of Lydia is one that many youths are living. Barely eking out a living, they are just one more “life incidences” from giving up on their dreams.
Imagine the world of possibilities that opens up for Lydia if she could get an education that equips her with the skill and knowledge to become a software engineer at no upfront cost? What would have been if she could get the education, get a job afterward, and start earning more than enough to take care of her family?
What is the future for Lydia? What about her siblings? For how long can her mother afford to cater for six school-age children? And what would be the fate of the children if anything ever happened to their mother?
It is for less privileged and economically deprived people like this that the Zarttalent Foundation was created. At Zarttalent Academy, Lydia would get high-quality, practical, tech education in six months. Thanks to Zarttech, she would afterward undergo a one-year internship that would give her valuable work experience to sharpen her skills.
After this, she would sign up with Zart Recruit, still a part of the Zarttalent Foundation. With Zart Recruit, she will get an opportunity to work with tech companies, putting her on a career path that would thrust her and her family comfortably into the middle class.
With about six to eight years of work experience, Lydia will be a senior tech engineer, comfortably earning enough to be in the top 10 percent of Nigerians financially. Her siblings also have the same path before them. Imagine having three software engineers in the family, maybe one cybersecurity specialist, an UI/UX designer, and one data scientist. The future will be limitless.
To ease access to high-quality tech education, we have created the Zart Academy app. Here, lessons and study materials are available for free to students across the world. Location is not a barrier. With access to a mobile phone or computer, students can learn at their own pace, still facilitated by world-class tutors in our facilities, dedicated to imparting knowledge. Our digital platform is designed for ease of use, just as our lessons are designed for easy assimilation.
Every teenager and young adult deserves a chance to live their dream and not be condemned to a hard life due to the socio-economic predicament they were born into. Therefore, we welcome every support that can help make Zart Academy available in more countries for them. Just six months of practical and high-quality training, and they can thrive in the global tech job market.