Date published: Sat 12 Aug 2017
Author: B. Gibson-Patteux
Young philanthropist, Femi Owolade-Coombes, has achieved quite a lot during his short time at Whitgift. The DT Scholar first came to our attention last year, when he featured in The MagPi magazine, a publication for Raspberry Pi enthusiasts, after he set up ‘Raspberry Jams’ (coding workshops where aficionados of all levels can share knowledge and meet like-minded people) that are autism and Tourette’s friendly.
Soon news of Femi’s deeds reached further afield. 20 inspirational 11-18 year olds from all corners of the globe were selected to receive a special award for their exceptional qualities of kindness, compassion and service. In May, the then Lower First Form pupil attended an event at St James’s Palace where The Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry presented the Diana Award's inaugural Legacy Award, in memory of their mother, the Princess of Wales, to mark the 20th anniversary of her death.
Never one to rest on his laurels, Femi was already planning a trip to Bangladesh, with the help of his ever-supportive mother, to run workshops targeting hundreds of young people across the 12-day excursion, which took place in July this year. The sessions entailed building robots and using micro:bits as an introduction to coding. Through generous sponsorship from the Microbit Foundation, Femi was able to gift 100 micro:bits to the participating groups so that they could continue learning.
Femi worked with numerous local charities and organisations - including CAFFE (Computers Are Free For Everyone); Hex.It (a website/developers company that employs university students who then donate an hour a week to give free coding lessons to kids); Khasdobir Youth Action Group (who work with disadvantaged children whose parents have low income jobs); LEEDO (who help street children); FFTPP (Friends For The Poor People); and Code Club Bangladesh – to ensure his outreach project reached as many deserving people as possible. You can read a full account of Femi's ‘Bangladesh Road-Trip’ on his blog www.hackerfemo.com.
In addition to the above, he managed to fit more initiatives into his summer holidays, running his first monetised Coding Bootcamp at Rise London (part of Barclays Bank FinTech arena), and has had the invaluable opportunity to be mentored by one of FinTech’s key influencers. As a result, Femi has been given exhibition space at the FinTech Connect Live 2017, in December, to launch his courses to the corporate sector.
Later this year, he will attend an event to receive his Diana Award, which recognises young people ‘who carry out inspiring work without expectation of reward’. Whitgift looks forward to following Femi’s amazing progress and supporting his endeavours wherever possible.