This 17-year-old coding champion and Google Code-in winner Nji Collins Gbah is actually from Bamenda, so, basically it is a city in northwestern Cameroon, a place which was recently cut off from the internet.
This 17-year-old Google Code-in Winner’s Hometown Has No Internet
First, of all in this world, we can not live without the Internet, but there are still places in Africa and Asia where governments cut off entire communities to quell their complaints and claims.
The 17-year-old Nji Collins Gbah lives in one of them. The Cameroon government has cut the Internet in his hometown, Bamenda, to hide the dissatisfaction of its more than 500,000 inhabitants. But, still, the 17-year-old Nji Collins Gbah managed to win the Google Code-in programming contest. However, he had to move his house, abandon his parents and gone to live with his cousin in the capital to be able to continue using the Internet and pursue his dream of becoming a programmer.
Google Code-in is a Google programming contest for 13 to 17-year-old children. In the 2016 edition, more than 1,300 programmers from 62 countries were introduced, and Nji Collins was a winner in one of the categories.
Nji had to successfully overcome 20 programming tasks, divided into five different groups. Just one day after completing the tests, the city where he lives, Bamenda, ran out of Internet. Although the government denies it, independent informants say cutting the Internet to silence political criticism is a common tactic in Cameroon.
The African country is still bleeding from the wounds suffered during the French and English colonization. Although English is an official language in Cameroon, the French-speaking government imposes numerous obstacles to its use, which has led to protests and demonstrations in the English-majority North West and South West regions. In fact, the school of Nji Collins has closed by the disturbances.
Without school and the Internet, the young winner of the Google Code-in competition has had to make a difficult decision: to leave his family and go live with his cousin in the capital of Cameroon, Yaounde, where it is possible to connect to the Internet.
Nji wants to complete his studies and study computer science. “I am trying to create my own model of data compression using deep learning and machine learning, ” he says in an interview with the BBC. No doubt, he knows what he is talking about: data compression, deep learning, and machine learning are the future of computing.
As a winner of the Google Code-in contest, he has been invited by Google to visit the headquarters in Mountain View (United States) and participate in a chat with engineers and coders of the company. “I hope someday he can work there, if possible, ” he told the BBC.
As it is a dream that seems within reach of its possibilities if Donald Trump allows it.