Kids praise international coding event

Telia Company was a communication partner and one of the first companies to commit when the United Nations Global Goals launched exactly two years ago. To celebrate, and to reinforce its continuous commitment, Telia Company’s volunteering initiative YOUNITE arranged a coding event for children at each headquarters in the Nordic and Baltic countries.

“It was so fun. When can we come again? Because I want to become a programmer,” one kid said to the organizer of the Finland event, Terhi Ilmakari.

Presented in September 2015, UN Global Goals for Sustainable Development are in part to end poverty, ensure quality education and build a more sustainable world by 2030. Telia is a communication partner to the UN and one of the first companies to commit to supporting the goals, because Telia is convinced that the telco industry's services as well as digitalization is crucial to reaching the goals.

The same conviction, that digitalization is crucial to a sustainable future, is behind YOUNITE, a program that encourages and enables Telia employees to engage in activities and societal contributions connected to digitalization. On Monday, September 25, around 20 to 100 schoolchildren gathered at each Telia Company country’s headquarters to learn about coding. Also, part of the event was devoted to online safety. In Lithuania, this was even the focus.

The kids worked in pairs and ended up creating a computer game of their own. During the event, the children in the different countries were in contact with each other via Skype.

Telia Norway organizer Christoffer Hovde says: “We had 100 kids here, and ten school classes are on a waiting list. It’s become a very popular activity and we will definitely do it again.”

Organizer Sophie Hildestad said the children in Denmark "were all super excited when we told them it was an international event, and that they could wave to kids in other countries. Everyone finished the event with a smile on their face." 

In Lituania and Estonia, a lot of attention was given to online safety. Estonia organizer Heddy Ring says:
"We talked with the children about digitalization and shared with them our recently-launched #biggestbravery campaign against cyber-bullying. We can all together take steps to make sure online is about opportunities, creativity, inspiration, bravery and support, not about threats and bullying. The more we know about it and how to use those opportunities in the right way, the better.“

Hilma Nordquist, who heads the YOUNITE program explains that Telia Company wants to emphasize the importance of education in the tech field and show different ways of securing sustainable growth, future jobs and innovation.
“That’s why we arranged today’s event,” she says.