SI Scholar Mariia Sirenko: ‘Why I’m learning to code in my free time’

Mariia Sirenko, Sustainability Masters student at Malmö University, shares her experience of PINK Programming events where she has been learning how to code.

SI Scholar Mariia Sirenko: ‘Why I'm learning to code in my free time’
Photo: PINK Programming workshop
I dedicate one Sunday a month to learning how to code. Even though I am not a Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics student, I found out about PINK Programming, and because I like to try new things, I gave it a go. 
Did you know that only 1 out of 10 developers are women? It is also estimated that in a few years, Sweden will be approximately short of 70,000 developers. So, how does Pink Programming relate to this? PINK is a non-profit organisation to increase the number of women who can program. By arranging free coding meet-ups, the organisation teaches IT and coding to women and transgenders,   
Photo: PINK Programming workshop
PINK events are incredibly fun. Just imagine a room full of girls, willing to learn to improve individual skills and network – what a great environment to be in! Also, once you start doing simple coding during their workshops, you understand that programming is not rocket science and that you are capable of doing it. 
Even if you are not planning on pursuing a career in IT, the events scheduled are definitely worth a visit. Every time, Pink Programming invites an inspiring female-speaker to share her journey within the tech industry. I was lucky to attend two meetings with women, who turned to IT after working with journalism and chemistry. This has made me feel empowered, that I can indeed, do anything I want. 
PINK events are also a great place to network. If you are looking for a learning partner or just new friends, you will find them at the events. Moreover, you might even network your way to a new job. Pink has partnerships with big players in the tech industry (such as Volvo, Massive or Sigma.) and the venue for events is usually provided by one of these partners. The last workshop I attended was held at Axis Communications in Lund, and it was great chatting with Axis employees. Who knows where a small talk can lead to?
Photo: PINK Programming workshop
Last but not least, participating in PINK workshops has helped me with my university assignment. As part of my Masters, I was supposed to write a research paper about Social Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation that would include interviews with practitioners. Inspired by my experience with PINK, I chose a social innovation as a tool to tackle female underrepresentation in the tech industry. I encourage you to attend events out of your scope of expertise and comfort zone to boost creative thinking and explore the world. It has worked for me. 
To all women wanting to code, Pink Programming holds workshops in Malmö, Gothenburg and Stockholm.

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Lagom: The best way to achieve social health?

Ronoh Philip, who is studying for his masters degree in Infectious Disease Control at Södertörn University, explains why he thinks the Swedish concept of 'lagom' is the best way to achieve good social health.

Lagom: The best way to achieve social health?

During my one week orientation program on August 2019 at Södertörn University, we were presented with many aspects of Swedish culture and practices. One of the new aspects that I learnt was the “lagom culture”, As I quote one of the presenters about applying lagom to our studies, he said: ”Lagom will reduce your stressful burdens of hectic lecture schedules and ensure that you spend equal time of working and socializing in the university.”

So being a student with a background in public health and society, I got interested and searched for the deeper meaning of lagom, and how it can  apply to society and health. I found out that it is a Swedish way of life, it is a concept which means not too much and not too little, just enough. I learnt that it came from a Viking tradition laget om which means 'around the group' and was allegedly used to describe just how much mead or soup one should drink when passing the bowl around in the group.

If this concept is applied to achieve social health goals, it would really fit well. So, what is social health at first? Social health is how you interact with other people and adapt in different situations, it deals with how people in society deal with each other. It is important to note that there is a close link between good social health and improvement of the other aspects of human health, this can lead to the achievement of SDG goal of good health and wellbeing. It also leads to self-satisfaction and happiness; no wonder Sweden is ranked as one the happiest countries in the world. It is ranked 7th in 2019, according to world happiness report. I believe lagom has a big role in this achievement.

In the country where I come from, Kenya, one of the greatest challenges we face in our society, is the ability for people of different cultural and ethnic backgrounds to interact and form positive and cohesive relationships with each other. From my perspective, when I finish my studies and return, lagom will be worth implementing in the workplace, the place where I live and the society as whole, as it is the best way of finding simple, attainable solutions to our everyday worries like stress, eating better, having downtime and achieving happiness. It’s a balance of work and life, so everything is in sustainable existence with each other.

My goal during my entire university studies at Södertörn, will be to learn more about the lagom principle and also be able to apply it on our SI NFGL Local Network platform, because it is surely one of the best ways to achieve a good  work-life balance, reaching consensus with my colleagues and adapting a team minded approach in dealing with issues in an organization and the society.