A degree in information and computer engineering. This is all Mahmoud Chahoud had on the day he packed his bags with his three children and wife and bade farewell to his native country Syria –heading for Turkey in search of somewhere free from the sounds of bombs, the constant fear and the news of deaths.
Today, almost two years later, Mahmoud recalls the details of his story at the same time he launched his new project “MOVN” a promising application that connects people commuting to the same region in Turkey and helps them split the price of transport.
When he arrived in Istanbul, although he got a job in app development, his family’s needs in a new country pushed him to search for additional work that would continue throughout the night and day.
As a father, Mahmoud pledged his life to the comfort and progress of his family. He would not waste a minute without investing in it, even as the dim light of daytime breaks through the intensity of darkness.
His research focused on mobile applications, the field of his work. However, most projects that were presented to him required experience in front and back-end website development. He used to say to his wife while drinking coffee: “Unfortunately, I cannot participate in the project; my lack of experience wouldn’t permit me”.
On an autumn day, upon his return home in the evening, he found his wife standing waiting for him outside their front door with a wide smile upon her face. She knew very well what her husband needed and also knew that they couldn’t afford the price of additional degrees or virtual courses. She searched and found the solution!
She told him: “The One Million Arab Coders initiative! They say it is free and offers a degree. There are trainers who help students for free. Try it. You have nothing to lose”, Mahmoud recalls his story in great detail. He never did ask her how she came across the initiative, adding that women can find anything they put their mind to.
Mahmoud completed the certificate in website development within one month. Now, his small room is turned into a workspace where the lights hardly ever go out.
Mahmoud says: “Since that day I no longer feel like a stranger, can you believe that?” Mahmoud has become a resource for other Arabs in Istanbul and for those searching for a coder to convert their ideas into a website with imaginative speed and unrivalled mastery. This is according to his friends who say they are counting on his expertise to launch MOVN, which has already started to make a profit in its early stages.