In a room above a mosque, teen girls code their way to a brighter future

Story highlights

  • Many girls in Nima,one of Accra's poorest slums, receive little or no education
  • Achievers Ghana is a school funded by the community to give the next generation a better chance of success
  • Girls are being taught to code by tech entrepreneur Regina Agyare, who believes her students will go far

(CNN)Every week in the heart of Nima, a slum in the Ghanaian capital of Accra, families congregate at a local mosque. When the time comes, young girls say goodbye to their loved ones and part ways, filing up concrete steps leading up to the floor above.

There, inside a large room dotted with brown tables, rows of flashing computer screens await for them.
    "When the parents are praying [downstairs], we are teaching the girls upstairs," explains tech entrepreneur Regina Agyare, who comes here every week to teach local teens how to code.
      Agyare's first visit to see the girls -- students at education project Achievers Ghana -- was in January 2014. This was supposed to be a one-off seminar as part of her mentorship initiative "Tech Needs Girls" -- however, the students proved quite a draw.
      "I fell in love with them, so I decided to set up a coding club and started having regular sessions," says Agyare, founder of software development company Soronko Solutions.
      More importantly, continues Agyare, it offered the opportunity to show "the community the value of educating girls."

      Breaking down social barriers

      A predominantly Muslim area in a largely Christian nation, Nima has one of the densest populations in Accra. Agyare says life is often challenging for many local girls, with some growing up without ever leaving the community.
      "Girls were being forced to marry early; [denied] their right to go to school. Most of their dreams and aspirations were limited to just what was around them.
      "I was shocked... I thought we had progressed as a nation. I thought we had gone past that."