In the words of Jana: "I am today confident that I can and will accomplish my dreams"
Jana Hassan Shami, 22, is a Management Information Systems (MIS) graduate from south Lebanon who lives in Beirut. With the economic crisis in Lebanon, finding work has not been easy.
Jana joined a group of women trainees supported by UN Women and Codi* with funding from the Government of Austria to learn up-to-date Information and Communications Technology (ICT) skills alongside social and professional skills. Jana’s new skills will help her on the job market.
“[Before], my parents, three siblings and I always made ends meet and even lived comfortably. However, Lebanon’s crisis has radically changed our day-to-day life. My mother, a schoolteacher, has seen her salary worth less and less and my father’s income greatly decreased. Our lifestyle has drastically changed; now we have to make a lot of sacrifices.
I saw that technology is central to our world, and everything relies on it – for this reason I decided to study Management Information Systems. After completing my bachelor’s degree in Management Information Systems, I could not find a job; having experience is crucial to get employed, otherwise I could not dream of securing an interview, let alone a job. [Also] we studied many things about technology – programming, web development – my knowledge was general and basic. I saw I must focus on one of these [areas] to be successful.
One day, one of my classmates told me about a training she had joined, provided by UN Women and Codi. She said it had changed her life. Despite my doubts, I decided to apply and give this opportunity a shot.
After passing the interview, I began what turned out to be a transformative experience for me. Over the two months of training, UN Women covered my transportation costs and provided me with cash for work opportunities, allowing me to build my work portfolio.
What we went through as trainees has changed me at all levels. We didn’t just learn the latest coding languages but also how to work together effectively to apply them. Teamwork was key. I learned how to deal with conflicting views to get the job done. My social skills also improved, and I gained a lot of confidence after preparing and leading presentations. This came alongside learning the latest coding languages and frameworks—those will help me stand out from other ICT professionals.
The training gave me self-confidence to apply for a new job. In fact, I secured three job interviews in one week! The training helped me to build a strong portfolio that shows my newly acquired skills despite my young age.
This experience with UN Women and Codi helped me to close the gap between my education and the labor market. Now, I have real hope of finding a job that fits my qualifications. I aim to work as a junior web developer to sharpen my skills before taking on more professional responsibilities. I am today confident that I can and will accomplish my dreams.
Our society unfortunately favors men over women in ICT. However, thanks to UN Women’s continuous support, I felt empowered to keep course.
I tell girls not to hesitate in pursuing a career in ICT. This is where change starts, this is how we debunk stereotypes and change mindsets that hinder women’s participation in the labor force and the economy.”
Shortly after this interview, Jana began working full-time as a Junior Full Stack Web Developer in a company that supports small businesses.
*Jana was part of the Austria-funded “Emergency Livelihoods for Affected Marginalized Populations in the Beirut Explosion Area” program jointly implemented by UN Women and UNICEF until December 2022, offering through Codi training focusing on English language proficiency, programming, and web development. Codi, a school of programming, is a sub-partner of Mouvement Social, UN Women’s partner with a focus on creating emergency livelihood opportunities for women living in poverty and affected by the Beirut 2020 port blast. The nine ICT trainees are part of a group of 160 women who received vocational training in digital marketing, mobile maintenance, childcare, housekeeping, and nursing aid.