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Growing up in Kibera, Stanley Kagunza experienced the lack of access to information faced by people in informal settlements firsthand. He eventually left Kibera to attend university where he was first introduced to computers. He fell in love with technology and the promise it held for innovation and community improvement. Stanley went on to work in IT for a series of companies and institutions, eventually becoming a programming instructor. While he loved teaching, he realized Kibera still felt like home. “I could see what computers could do for me,” explains Stanley, “It gave me access to a whole new world. I wanted to give that same gift to my community in Kibera.”

He decided to join Somo’s training program and went on to found StanTeck, a computer training institute that offers programs for everything from computer fundamentals to advanced programming languages. “Our mission is to increase access to information for low income people,” notes Stanley. Now working with over 15 students at a time, StanTeck’s programs run two to four months depending on skill level. Most of the students are around 15-35 years old but Stanley says that he instructs a few older Kiberans as well. Together, Stanley and his other instructors teach four two-hour sessions a day. “In the morning, we focus on programming while our afternoon sessions cover basic computer skills and some design work.” The goals for each student vary, with some hoping to master a new programming language while others focus on increasing their ability to navigate the web or GoogleDrive. All StanTeck students, however, graduate with increased computer skills and comfort with technology.

Although other technology institutes exist in Nairobi, Stanley argues that most institutions are out of the price range of youth in informal areas. “I am here because I love to teach. Each day I work at StanTeck, I am living out my passion and dream,” he explains. StanTeck is also uniquely focused on supporting computer learning among low income, informal areas. Outside of StanTeck, many Kiberans are only able to use computers in cybers. Here they are restricted to web use and receive no instruction. “At StanTeck, our students are able to interact freely with the machines which opens up their brains to new ways of thinking.” Through his business, Stanley aims to create a world in which everyone has equal access to information as he believes this is the first step in building a more equitable world.

While StanTeck currently operates at a relatively small scale, Stanley hopes to someday expand to become Kibera’s Technical University. Having a dream this big, Stanley admits, is sometimes difficult. “Sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever feel satisfied with where my business is at,” he notes. “Right now, I’m trying just to focus on the next two years and familiarize the Kiberan community with my business.” By 2018, he hopes to buy more machines and hire a few of his graduates as instructors. To do this, however, he will need to find more funds. “Somo’s grant was incredibly helpful in securing a space and buying our first round of machines. But to keep expanding we’ll need to find some more investors.”

Despite the stresses of entrepreneurship, Stanley is still overjoyed to be running his own business. “I love being my own boss!” he says laughingly, “Sometimes I look around and wonder, could it be? Could I really be in charge of all of this?” He admits that the ups and downs of business are exhausting but insists they are all worth it. “Owning my own business is empowering. I am directly helping to create a better world for my community.”

 

Stanley instructs his students on the basics of HTML. 

Stanley instructs his students on the basics of HTML. 

Although other technology institutes exist in Nairobi, Stanley argues that most instructors are merely in it for the money. “I am here because I love to teach. Each day I work at StanTeck, I am living out my passion and dream,” he explains. StanTeck is also uniquely focused on supporting computer learning among low income, informal areas. Outside of StanTeck, many Kiberans are only able to use computers in cybers. Here they are restricted to web use and receive no instruction. “At StanTeck, our students are able to interact freely with the machines which opens up their brains to new ways of thinking.” Through his business, Stanley aims to create a world in which everyone has equal access to information as he believes this is the first step in building a more equitable world.

While StanTeck currently operates at a relatively small scale, Stanley hopes to someday expand to become Kibera’s Technical University. Having a dream this big, Stanley admits, is sometimes difficult. “Sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever feel satisfied with where my business is at,” he notes. “Right now, I’m trying just to focus on the next two years and familiarize the Kiberan community with my business.” By 2018, he hopes to buy more machines and hire a few of his graduates as instructors. To do this, however, he will need to find more funds. “Somo’s grant was incredibly helpful in securing a space and buying our first round of machines. But to keep expanding we’ll need to find some more investors.”

Despite the stresses of entrepreneurship, Stanley is still overjoyed to be running his own business. “I love being my own boss!” he says laughingly, “Sometimes I look around and wonder, could it be? Could I really be in charge of all of this?” He admits that the ups and downs of business are exhausting but insists they are all worth it. “Owning my own business is empowering. I am directly helping to create a better world for my community.”