RailsBridge Cape Town is the local chapter of RailsBridge. We’ve been running free workshops helping people learn Rails, Ruby, HTML, CSS, and JavaScript since July 2013. The workshops are targeted at groups of people that are underrepresented in tech; we want to help increase diversity in tech, to help all people feel welcome and comfortable in our industry.

Our workshops

We’ve had a total of 23 workshops (at various offices, at the Bandwidth Barn in Woodstock, at the University of Cape Town, at Herschel school) and have had over 310 attendees. Our meetup group, which we’ve been using to track attendance since April 2014, has over 630 members. For each workshop, we aim for between 20 and 30 people. We try and keep the number around there so that we can have a good balance of mentors to attendees.

Our content

All of the course material is open source and online at docs.railsbridgecapetown.org so that students can continue with the workshop material (and other resources) after they leave. People that do the Intro to Rails course also get guided through installing Ruby and Rails (and Git and the Heroku toolbelt and Atom) onto their machine so that they have those after the workshop too.

What do we need?

The workshops are free for attendees. We need Venues to hold workshops, money to buy breakfast and lunch for our attendees, and volunteers to help mentor. We fund stationery supplies and loot (like stickers) ourselves, but we’d love help with that too. Getting sponsorship is our biggest challenge for each workshop and we appreciate all the help we get!

RailsBridge Cape Town is quite informal, so we’re not a registered NPO and we don’t have a PayPal account like our US-based mothership does. We ask for sponsors to pay directly for things for us where they can. In other cases, we pay and ask for reimbursement from sponsors.

What’s in it for you?

Supporting RailsBridge has the long-term benefit of contributing to increased diversity in tech (which leads to more productive and creative teams, for one). But supporting RailsBridge also has more immediate benefits. In particular, increasing your organisation’s visibility within the local tech community. By sponsoring RailsBridge, you are publicly demonstrating to professional and future developers that your organisation values diversity, openness, and excellence. Yay!

Attendees aren’t the only ones learning. Seasoned developers join the RailsBridge community and learn to be more empathetic, deepen their knowledge of their craft, and importantly, challenge their subconscious preconceptions of what a programmer looks like.

If you’d like to sponsor a RailsBridge, drop us an email or find us on meetup!