The Digital Citizen Fund, formally known as the ‘Women’s Annex Foundation’, is a non-profit organization founded in New York City, helping girls and women in developing countries gain access to technology, virtually connect with others across the world, and obtain essential (and potentially life-changing) IT skills.

They have successfully connected over 55,000 young women in Kabul and Herat so far.

Roya Mahboob, Founder and Executive Director of The Digital Citizen Fund, used the profit from Afghan Citadel Software, her software development company, to create ten centres for girls to study computing in Kabul and Herat.

When the Taliban found out, they told her they would kill her if she didn’t stop.

Forced to flee Afghanistan, Mahboob went to New York in January 2014, where she set up two businesses: a vocational training site called EdyEdy and, in early 2016, an as-yet-unnamed export company, bringing Afghan tea and coffee to the US and Middle East.

Both businesses fund Mahboob’s training centres, which she has continued, despite the risks and potential danger it brings.

Digital Citizen Fund’s female teachers introduce 12- to 18-year-old Afghan children to the basics of digital and financial literacy, followed by classes in coding or social media. The training centres have already given 8000 girls and women access to technology, with 2,400 girls are taking the courses each year. There are plans to increase these numbers by teaching more children in rural areas, with the aim of training 5,000 more in the next two years.

Mahboob is incredibly passionate about helping women become more equal, and  strongly believes technology can bring about this change.

For more information about the Digital Citizen Fund please click here.

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Mark O'Loughlin is a charity fundraiser and writer. Mark recently made a career change from publishing to fundraising and wants to help spread the word about the fantastic work charities do.

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