Mridu Bhatnagar
Learner and Practitioner's Abode

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Learner and Practitioner's Abode

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How you can organize DjangoGirls in your city?

How you can organize DjangoGirls in your city?

Mridu Bhatnagar's photo
Mridu Bhatnagar
·Mar 14, 2022·

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I attended DjangoGirls Bangalore in 2017. Met some good folks there. And, this experience led me to think about organizing DjangoGirls in a tier 2/tier 3 city Indore. Thought was why do good events happen in only tier 1 cities. Why not go back to the roots?

It was 31st August of 2019. When what was thought of came to life. Around 25-30 girls showed up. I along with Shashank taught. More on this later.

Well, until I got my feet wet. I had no answer as to why such events don't happen in tier 3 cities. Mind you, Indore is not like Bangalore. Before we start with how to organize. Let us know what DjangoGirls is.

What is DjangoGirls?

Django is a Python web framework. DjangoGirl is a non-profit organization that runs free one-day DjangoGirls workshops. The organization is funded by people through donations. They also sell their swag kit that has stickers. You can purchase DjangoGirls T-shirts from their store. Some organizations give donations. All of this helps them stay alive.

What is the format of DjangoGirls?

There are mentors and mentees. Assign 2-3 mentees to 1 mentor. There is DjangoGirls documentation that has content on Python and Django. The mentor takes the mentee through the content. You live code together. Learn things together. As this is a day-long event. Lunch is also provided.

What constraints I had?

  • I had no funds to organize the event in the first place. Bangalore has corporate sponsors.
  • No mentors willing to volunteer and give their Saturday away in teaching.
  • I had no funds to pay for mentors' accommodation and travel.
  • No space to conduct the event. In Bangalore, companies give away their space to host.
  • There was no money. Who would have given us lunch?
  • We also had no funds to order swag kits, stickers from the official DjangoGirls store.

How did I get started solo?

It had stuck to my mind that come what may this has to be executed. I had no previous experience in organizing events. By then the only experience I carried was of going to events as a Speaker. I read their documentation on how you can organize. That didn't entirely help. As there were constraints.

Here is what I did instead:

  1. Searched contact details of all the co-working spaces. Talked to them.
  2. Persuaded them to give us space. And, made them understand why I was doing what I doing.
  3. Created social media pages for DjangoGirls on Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook.
  4. Created a google form looking for volunteers for DjangoGirls, Indore.
  5. Shared every post from my personal profile because these pages had no likes.

How did I find the first volunteer?

I had already done the groundwork single-handedly. Shared photos with friends to finalize the space. I created a text post sharing about volunteers are needed for graphic design. And, had posted a simple google form. Out of sheer stroke of luck. I found one Volunteer. A college student. He was good with graphic design. Had experience with Python and Django.

I was based out of Gurgaon. And, was managing everything remotely.

How did we find mentees? How did we spread the word?

  1. Shashank created a lot of graphics. Through the graphic we answered the following questions:

    • What is Djangogirls?
    • When is the event?
    • Where is the event?
    • Who is the event for?
  2. I was aware that college students have Whatsapp groups. And, we could share the graphics there. Along with a google-form to capture potential mentee information. We found our way through. Shashank shared in his college. And, then it only kept spreading.

  3. From the gathered information. The next step was to figure out who was serious about what we were doing. And, were willing to learn. This is where we filtered. We also had to filter because we had space only for 30. We also wanted to make sure we are able to pay attention to all. And, it doesn't get chaotic.

  4. We were able to get mentees from well-known good institutes from Indore. IET-DAVV, SGSITS, and Acropolis Indore to name a few.

  5. 25-30 confirmations meant we have at least 10 coaches. Till here we had no coaches.

  6. I did also set up the website. And, shared the details with the main DjangoGirls org. Finally, on DjangoGirls website Indore showed up. The feeling cannot be expressed. What I had thought of was coming to life.

How did we find the coaches?

We shared on social media looking for mentors who can volunteer for a day and teach. I was specifically looking out for professionals. The google form didn't get any attention. No responses came.

As a next step. I searched for professionals on Linkedin. Search keys being Python, Django, and Indore. Based on the results that were returned. I reached out in person to people. Explaining what we were doing. Explaining you are not going to be paid for showing up. This is volunteering.

Failed. To whoever I reached. No, where I got a positive response from. Forget positive. Some were simply rude.

I had no sponsors. Geographically the city is not convenient for coming. And, why would people pay from their pocket and come over?

We were halfway in it. Which also meant that we didn't have option to go back from here.

What was the way out?

When you don't have others. You take it on yourself. It was my responsibility to execute. We modified the DjangoGirls format. We actually had to do 1 to many. Half of the session I took. The other half was taken care of by Shashank. We coded the blog website live. Resolved bugs. Answered questions.

How did we arrange for stickers and swags with no funds?

I searched for all other developer groups that were running in the city. Reached out to those organizers and asked them how they get their stickers. From where do they get it?

I have lost touch and forgotten the name. Sorry. But, that person ordered GitHub cheatsheets, stickers for us. And, ensured that they are there on the event day. We didn't have to pay anything for it. He had it with him. And, he gave a lot of them to us like a giveaway.

Yes, DjangoGirls Indore had no official DjangoGirls stickers.

What happened to the lunch?

People agreeing to show up there for the full day. Also, meant I have something in place for them to have. Paid from the pocket. I couldn't negotiate here. And, it was okay. The priority then was to make sure that we host and not cancel the event. Due to pitty reasons.

How much did it cost?

As I was flying down from a different city. I had to pay for my travel. And, for everyone's lunch. All these costs come down to 0. If you are in a city where you can get sponsors who can give you space and lunch.

How is DjangoGirls different from other meetups?

This is not a recurring event. Early once works. Depending on how much funds you have.

Why I am sharing all of this?

Because you can do it too. The manual doesn't help when you are operating under constraints. And, this was worth having experience in itself. Satisfying, to say the least. And, my quest for doing something more than the day's job. Led to this. :)

The Final Day. 31st August 2019

And, there we were. The final day came. 25-30 girls showed up. My happiness had no bounds. 25-30 happy faces came in. For each of them, DjangoGirls was a first-time experience. 25-30 happy faces bid goodbye.

This was how graphic looked like WhatsApp Image 2022-03-15 at 1.18.25 AM.jpeg

WhatsApp Image 2022-03-15 at 1.18.25 AM (1).jpeg

WhatsApp Image 2022-03-15 at 1.18.25 AM (2).jpeg

What is the current status of DjangoGirls Indore?

I wanted to test the water. And, find out the reason why such events are not hosted in tier 3 cities. Found the answer the hard way. There are constraints. But, then you do it anyway.

As of now, no plans of running it again.

 
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