Nicole, who was encouraged by Recode and INPAR to pursue a career in technology, stood out as a member of the winning team in the Brazilian stage of the global programming challenge Call for Code. Her story caught the attention of the organizers of Futurecom, the largest digital transformation event in Latin America, who invited her to participate in the panel “The Code Lines Breaking Barriers and (Re)writing the Digital & Inclusive Future”. Nicole will take the stage at the event on October 31, 2019.

Nicole Pessoa, 22, a resident of Cidade de Deus in Rio, has always been fascinated by computers and cell phones. Since her family could not afford to have the equipment at home, she had to borrow them from friends. At 15, her mother accepted her proposal to trade a birthday party for her first computer – and since then, her knowledge in technology has only grown.

The first courses were taken at INPAR, an institution that has been a partner of Recode for 18 years in the community. “That’s when I got confirmation that I wanted to get into this field,” she says. Then she learned computer assembly and maintenance, photography and participated in the Gatomídia project, which explores audiovisuals for creations and activism on the web. And of course, she is also self-taught in programming.

Nicole (second from right to left) has always been passionate about technology.

In addition to being a volunteer educator at INPAR, Nicole represented Cidade de Deus at the Call for Code event in June 2019, at the invitation of Recode. Among more than 100 young people, she was part of the group that won first place with the Help Life project. The proposal of the application is to facilitate the help of firefighters and civil defense to victims of natural disasters. “Doctors will have all the person’s information, know where they are, if they are in a wheelchair or disabled, to bring the right equipment,” she says.

She had daily meetings with IBM mentors to program the app prototype and take the idea to the final stage of Call for Code, competing for the $200,000 prize. Even without winning the global stage, Nicole is proud of her first and challenging participation in this globally-scaled challenge.