Danish microfinancing company CodersTrust is taking an interesting step towards helping third world citizens: teaching freelancers to code.
Coders Trust identifies freelancers on oDesk with a penchant for good work and approaches them with a loan offer for $2,000 (a sizeable chunk of money when converted to our terms). The loan is shelled out gradually as coders pass designated classes at Code Academy. These freelancers can then pay back what they owe once they start making some money off their new skills. They’ve begun with a hundred Bangladeshi coders.
Ferdinand Kjaerulff, Morten Lund, and the Danida (Danish International Development Agency) are behind Coders Trust, with Lund and the DANIDA providing the financial backing. In Dhaka, Bangladesh, they’re working with Dr Muhammed Yunus’s famous Grameen Bank. According to Kjaerulff, the idea arose from the time he spent in Iraq helping nurture ICT there. He founded Coders Trust in November 2013, and in 2014 announced a partnership with Elance.com during an interview with Sir Richard Branson (of Virgin fame). Since Elance and Odesk merged a few months ago, Coders Trust is now tapping into the world’s largest freelancing network.
Together, the agents behind Coders Trust see a massive scope for improvement in Bangladesh, where over 39 million people live below the poverty line. Granted, they’re not blind to the challenges they’re facing: “It takes time to get an education so those living below the poverty line are going to be thinking of how to find their next meal, not taking classes if they can’t afford to learn,” said Lund. If this works out, we could be seeing Coders Trust branching out to more countries…including, hopefully, Sri Lanka.