Despite the difficulties of studying from home during the pandemic, educate. scholar Javier Reyes is excelling both academically and personally.
During a recent visit to Honduras, I (Antonia, educate. co-founder) was able to meet up with him and his family and spend some quality time talking about his experiences, struggles, achievements and ideas.
Javier lives in a small house next to the main road, just outside of Trinidad. Having worked since the age of 12 in the local shoemaking sector, he completed his high school in the evenings and was the first person from his high school to go on to university. Having just completed his 3rd year of studying Computer Science at the Honduran University of Technology (UTH), Javier is moving on to more advanced programming courses and proudly showed me a website that he coded himself.
“I remember how hard it was when I first started,” he recalled, “because I didn’t have anyone who had gone to university to give me advice. I had no one to help me, I had to figure it all out.”
“And most of my classmates had come from better schools, a lot of them already knew some programming, some of them had even had robotics in their schools. In my first year, my Professor asked me what kind of programming language I had experience in, and I didn’t even know what to say, because I had never done programming. I was really behind, but YouTube has a lot of tutorials and I was able to learn quickly.”
Back when I first met Javier as he was applying for his scholarship, he was an incredibly shy eighteen-year-old. But he was clearly very bright and utterly determined to continue his education, which is what persuaded us to take him on as our third student in the programme. Over the past three years, he has grown into a young man with the confidence and ability to express his own opinions and ideas. As we sat over coffee one afternoon talking about the new Youth Center project, he expressed a desire to get involved as a leader, giving IT classes.
“Once the Youth Center is running, I’d love to come and give classes to children about IT, coding, programming! I’d love to pass on what I’ve learned to others.”
Having benefited from the opportunity to continue his studies, he also sees the value of building a network of young leaders who will pass on their learning and support one another, and is keen to be a frontrunner in this process.
Hear more about Javier’s ideas in this short interview (during which a football game started up in the background, so please excuse the background noise):