Creating opportunities for refugees. A story of Aya Al Abrash
"Hack Your Future inspired me to believe in myself, to push a little harder, to learn something new, to go out and meet people, to stand for myself and be proud of my goals, to help others, to be kinder, to give back, to share, to create, to serve, to inspire. Joining Backbase was the first milestone in making me closer to my dream becoming a reality."
Backbase & Hack Your Future
Hack Your Future and Backbase started their collaboration back in 2018, when the coding school was looking for a new home. We decided not to be indifferent and happily provided our work space for coding classes on Sundays - which eventually grew into a long-lasting partnership. We felt lucky to have an opportunity to do something more for this group of incredibly motivated and driven individuals.
Hack Your Future (HYF) is focused on teaching refugees how to program quickly, gain skills that are demanded on the job-market, and connect them with companies that hire programmers. Within 7-months course refugees are able to become full-stack developers and independent coders, fully adapted to the Dutch working culture.
It goes beyond just helping to find a work placement for more than 116 students that completed the Hack Your Future course. It sums up to a much larger number when you think about the effect on students’ partners and families. Hack Your Future does not help individuals, it helps communities to feel included and valued in society. However, having a matching skill set is one thing, another thing is to be successful during the interview process. Hack Your Future also provides students with a unique opportunity to receive interview training from the selected HR professionals that set students up for success.
Photo credit: ©VincentKuyvenhoven
24-year-old Aya came to live with her dad in Wassenaar in 2017, together with the rest of her family. Originally coming from Syria, where she didn’t get a chance to finish her Bachelor Degree in Information Technology Engineering, Aya recalls that it was quite challenging at first. “I didn’t want to start my degree all over again in the Netherlands but wasn’t sure what to do either.'' She has already knew about Hack Your Future from one of her friends. “My sister and I applied for the course and both of us got in”. Aya graduated from Hack Your Future in September 2018. However, it was not until March 2019 when she found her first job in Amsterdam at Backbase. “I applied to a couple of jobs, but was not successful, until Wouter (HYF Managing Director) called me and told me about the internship opportunity at Backbase”, says Aya.
BB: What’s your best experience of Hack The Future?
Aya: Hack Your Future has been my first family in the Netherlands. They gave me an opportunity to find who I am and who I want to be. The most important thing, I figured out how to improve my skills and my thinking. Because HYF isn't just a school. It's a community. Every day I spent there, I have learned something new. Especially through working on the graduation project. I’ve got a chance to be in a team, learn from others, learn from my mistakes while being surrounded by great mentors.
BB: What is your dream? And, how does Backbase help you in achieving it?
Aya: I have a dream to be a well-known developer. And since I've started at Backbase as a frontend developer intern, that was my first milestone in making me closer to my dream becoming a reality. Hack Your Future inspired me to believe in myself, to push a little harder, to learn something new, to go out and meet people, to stand for myself and be proud of my goals, to help others, to be kinder, to give back, to share, to create, to serve, to inspire.
BB: How does Backbase differentiate from other tech companies?
Aya: The key thing about Backbase is the environment of the company and the people there. People at Backbase are much more than their job titles. They're just like a family willing to help each other.
BB: Did the program help you integrate into Dutch society and how?
Aya: Before being a member of HYF family, I was a newcomer and didn't know anyone. So, HYF wasn't just a course where you come and you leave. They are friends, people to learn from and an extended family that is standing by me from my first days here.