Room 3.5 & 3.6 (3)
community health
open web community

How I escaped poverty using Drupal. The emancipating power of free and accessible Drupal training.

How I escaped poverty using Drupal. The emancipating power of free and accessible Drupal training.

Esmeralda Braad-Tijhoff (Esmoves)

How I escaped poverty using Drupal
The emancipating power of free and accessible Drupal training.

I would like to talk about my journey to become a IT woman in a male dominated work environment while being a single mom on welfare. I would like to advocate for free Drupal tutorials and lift up other people who had a rough path in life.

I have never attended any IT studies. In fact, I’m a historian by training and my CV is littered with odd jobs. I had a difficult start in life and I'm the first in my family to attend university (graduated in 2007). Personal circumstances and a tough job market landed me on social welfare at the end of 2017 as a single mother of twee toddlers, one of them with cerebral palsy and lots of special needs.

I needed a way to turn our lives around fast. I did not just needed a job. I needed a job that would pay enough to support a family and would give me flexible hours to be able to take care of the children and hop in out of the hospital with my child.

I worked my way up to become a Drupal Site Builder by using free tutorials online and a php course offered by the city council. Free tutorials to learn coding and the drupalize.me series are a tool to empower people like me, and should be cherished by the community. Free tutorials and extended documentation deserve more time and love from senior developers.

In my presentation, I would like to talk about keeping afloat when you're poor, and about entering Drupal as a way to make a living. I have lots of ‘fun’ stories because I became extremely creative to get my hands on decent secondhand clothing, toys and free food, to the extent of opening up a ‘giveaway shop’ in a squat.

Beside this storyline, I also want to talk about the difficulties I encountered when I tried to enter the male dominated IT world. And I want to stress how inspiring Drupal became to me due its open source nature. Now, I have landed a good job at the Dutch Government, I promote Drupal for the government and started the project to build a distribution (GOVNL). I became a member of the Dutch Drupal Association Board this year. Overall, my story has a happy ending and Drupal helped me immensely with this.

I know living in a West European country gave me lots off opportunities, like a minimum liveable welfare and healthcare that people in for example the US don’t get. But I still feel my journey can broaden other people’s perspective on society and inspire people to look out for one another.

Session (45 minutes)