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NURUL JIHADAH HUSSAIN (b. 1987)

FOUNDER, THE CODETTE PROJECT

NURUL JIHADAH HUSSAIN (b. 1987)
FOUNDER, THE CODETTE PROJECT
Nurul Jihadah founded The Codette Project in 2015 to empower minority/Muslim women with long-term success in their careers and lives through tech. The non-profit group creates online content and organises free workshops as well as community events in Singapore to build community and teach different aspects of tech to minority/Muslim women with various levels of experience. It hosted Singapore’s first women-only hackathon in 2018, and again last year, which drew participants aged 9 to 44 over one weekend. Skills imparted during workshops can range from coding, prototyping and user experience design, to social media marketing, graphic design and even how to improve your LinkedIn page. They have also created a set of stock photos on Shutterstock showing what tech could look like if hiring minority/Muslim women were the norm.

The MBA graduate first pitched the idea of the social impact start-up to self-help organisation Mendaki, which provided its initial seed funding in 2015. Her initial idea was to organise a six-month tech bootcamp for unemployed women, but she soon realised after consulting the community that there was a widespread desire for minority/Muslim women of all backgrounds to learn tech. The Codette Project is currently funded by donations and public grants and is run by a team of 15 volunteers, some who have been with The Codette Project since 2016.

While acknowledging that there are different levels of access to tech in our society, Nurul Jihadah feels that tech has the potential to level the playing field professionally for minority/Muslim women. In addition, to giving them the opportunity to gain skills, a key aspect of The Codette Project is in building a community of and for success, where women can build confidence and create a network of support around them. And when it comes to access to The Codette Project itself, any minority/Muslim woman can join its activities without feeling the need to “perform an identity” in order to prove that they belong. Such policing or expectations may exist elsewhere but Nurul Jihadah states unequivocally: “We won’t ask you to prove that you deserve to be here. If this is a community that you as a minority/Muslim woman feel you should belong to, then you are welcomed.”

Nurul Jihadah is also unapologetic in her belief that minority/Muslim women should be able to own their personal narratives of success, whatever that might be. “The definitions of what success looks like in our community are very prescriptive,” she says. “Not all stories of success have to start with a tragedy or look the same way. I feel that people have to understand that, as with any other community, we deserve to have a diversity of tracks to success.”

Together with Nurul Jihadah, The Codette Project is managed by a committed and talented group of volunteers including Nurul Amillin Hussain, Anastasia Pavlovic, Atikah Razak, Attiya Ashraf Ali, Hakim Ariffin, Huda Ang, Liyana Fauzi, Nurliyana Abu Bakar, Nurliyana Rosli, Mariah Farzana, Raihana Farook, Salina Ibrahim, Zafirah Zaharudin, Zee Khamaruldin.

The Codette Project is one of the 7 projects supported by T:>Care, an initiative established by T:>Works to support projects initiated and developed by women to make positive change in our communities. To know more about The Codette Project, visit www.thecodetteproject.com.
Image: (From left to right) Salina Ibrahim, Mariah Farzana, Zee Khamaruldin, Zafirah Zaharudin and
(Front) Nurul Jihadah Hussain