Their coding can change the world [video]

A team of coders from Kazakhstan is showing how girls can make the world safer.

Their team, “/Flash,” competed in the 2017 Technovation Challenge, designing an app called QamCare to keep youth safe and parents informed when their children are traveling alone.

“What inspired me to take part in this challenge was to make change in my community,” said Aruzhan Koshkarova, a member of the team, in an interview with Teen Vogue. She and her four friends created a team and joined more than 11,000 girls from 103 countries to compete in the international coding challenge. As finalists, the girls flew to Silicon Valley, in California, to pitch their ideas to tech experts.

October 11 is International Day of the Girl, when the world celebrates the achievements of young women, such as Koshkarova and her teammates.

And the winner is …

The team’s app, QamCare, derived from the Kazakh word meaning “support,” won one of the grand prizes for its potential as a lifesaving tool. Nine people go missing every day in Kazakhstan, most of them young girls. The team’s app can share a child’s location with a “family circle” of trusted contacts. The team also developed a Bluetooth “panic button” that would allow children to alert parents without pulling out a cellphone. (The team’s video, above, shows the girls pitching the idea.)

“All people need safety and peace of mind,” said QamCare teammate Dianna Zhanakbayeva.

More science and tech is on the horizon for the members of Team /Flash, who are all teenagers from Almaty, Kazakhstan’s largest city. Koshkarova plans to become a mechanical engineer, and her teammates hope to study software development, chemistry and architecture.

Six teenagers holding winners' certificates on a stage with a woman (Photo by Iridescent)
Team /Flash from Kazakhstan won the Global Grand Prize for their app, QamCare. (Photo by Iridescent)

Team /Flash developed QamCare at Makerspace Almaty, a technology lab at American Space Almaty, a space where anyone can learn and practice English, make friends and develop tech projects for free.

Other finalists pitched projects to build recycling infrastructure, to help survivors of female genital mutilation and to provide information that could decrease infant and maternal mortality. The Technovation Challenge is supported by U.S. companies — including Google, Adobe and Oracle — and partners with the United Nations and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.