Less than 24 hours later, Umar is now here at Barcelona Tech City, mentoring developers and entrepreneurs at Techstars Startup Weekend’s first-ever Social Impact Barcelona edition.
It’s incredible speaking with the teams and seeing how passionate they are about making the world a better place
Having just arrived today, Umar is already impressed by the spirit of innovation. Here, there are 11 teams of between six and eight developers, designers, and business people developing solutions set forth by the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“It’s incredible speaking with the teams and seeing how passionate they are about making the world a better place,” said Umar.
Umar explained to Novobrief the concept behind the NGO he co-founded, NASCO: Feeding Minds, and how he is using Barcelona as a launching pad to refurbish and ship used computers from the Catalan capital to Ghana, in order to build computer labs and ICT schools in his home country.
It is our debt as human beings to take care of the future
“We have to make this world a better place. It is our debt as human beings to take care of the future,” he says.
Umar first arrived in Barcelona in 2005, completely illiterate. Just two weeks ago, he just graduated with a Master’s degree. He believes that opportunity is essential for “feeding minds” and empowering youth through education.
Education is the best way to develop society
That is why he is dedicated to strengthening opportunities in education back home in Ghana through NASCO. It’s not just about shipping computers from Barcelona to West Africa, but putting those computers to good use.
“Education is the best way to develop society,” says the young Ghanaian.
He started by establishing ICT schools in Ghana with just two teachers, and now the schools enroll over 11,000 students.
Yesterday in Rome, Pope Francis encouraged Umar to “continue saving peoples’ lives.”
Born in 2012, NASCO was founded on the premise that primary education is universally vital to the global community and to this end, it has revolutionized the development of economic, social, and environmental resources in order to promote literacy.
It’s vision is to develop a world class, globally competitive, invaluable and adaptable ICT educational system that responds to the individual, institutional, and socially developmental needs of the people in Ghana.
For Ghanaian students, computers cease to be elements that can only be seen drawn or photographed in a book to become, finally, real tools, practical and useful tools with which to learn and have access to information and education.
Techstars Startup Weekend is a global challenge that takes place in cities all over the world – where entrepreneurs come together and turn an idea into reality within 54 hours.
For the Barcelona social impact event, participants are presenting their projects that seek to tackle this generation’s most challenging problems while receiving feedback from mentors in the social impact community.
The participants have to develop a social impact idea as well as devise a feasible business model by the end of tomorrow.