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How a trans activist is using DataCamp to support the Venezuelan LGBTQIA+ community

Michelle Artiles,
July 14, 2022 5 minutes min read
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Michelle Artiles is a trans activist creating a more open Venezuela for all. She was able to get free access to DataCamp through the partnership between DataCamp Donates and Yakera. She is using her skills to teach her community about data science and educate others regarding the challenges the LGBTQIA+ community is facing in Venezuela.

Challenges for the LGBTQIA+ Community in Venezuela

The situation that Venezuela is going through is extremely tragic and is referred to by economists as the worst economic crisis since the mid-20th century in a country outside of war.  A food crisis, a precarious health system, and rising unemployment make life in this country an uphill battle, all the more so if you belong to the LGBTIQ community. Among the different consequences of the crisis in my country, there is also the issue of discrimination because of my gender identity. It is impossible for me to access a job under sufficient conditions to support myself. In Venezuela, any regular store or office jobs that I would call “common work” is not accessible for us, the LGBTIQ community, as we are discriminated against and will not even be considered actual workers. Our only way is to aim for bigger international corporations and have a very specific skill we are highly proficient in. That way, our expertise prevails over our personnel identity and recruiters have no other choice but to recognize us as candidates for the job. Because of that and my studies, I needed to start learning data science. Indeed, I am studying to obtain a Masters in Journalism and Communication and have to make a Research Thesis. Since the beginning of my master's degree, I was looking to start training in data science but could not find a way. 

Michelle uses her free DataCamp Donates access to educate her community

In the midst of searching for how to learn data analysis, Yakera appeared through social media. A crowdfunding platform that is responsible for creating a new model to unlock international generosity around the world, where people can create their campaigns and receive donations from people around the world. They had started a partnership with DataCamp Donates and I applied to receive this scholarship. 

DataCamp has been a channel for me to be able to access a lot of knowledge that is not offered in my university degree. Even more impactful for me, thanks to my free access to DataCamp, I was able to empower 12 other people from my community, some of whom were homeless, with SQL skills.

The power of telling compelling stories through data science

As a journalism major at the Andres Bello Catholic University, I am continuously pushed to tell compelling stories. Data analysis is the best way to tell stories as it rallies any audience, no matter their background and worldviews, towards a common understanding. In an article for Amnesty International, I denounced transphobia in Venezuelan society: from the laws and institutions to deep roots in Venezuelan culture, transphobia makes it hard for members of the LGBTIQ community to have a life where their identity is not questioned every single day. Although we can tell our narratives drawing solely from our own experience, data skills have empowered me to create a fact and figure-based way to showcase the stories of resistance in the face of oppression. Narrating my story is primordial but having data validating my experience allows the audience to be drawn in. Hence, I should say here that 92% of members of the LGBTQIA+ community have been victims of discrimination and violence in Venezuela and that 73% of them have thought about emigrating because of discrimination

Photo of Michelle Artiles

I will always advocate for DataCamp Donates and Yakera because they provide the opportunity to people who have limited access to education or alternative tools to develop their skills in other areas and access better opportunities amidst incredible instability.

Michelle ArtilesStudents and DataCamp Donates recipient

Data science education for all is what humanity needs in times in which activism for equality is more needed than ever. For this reason, these initiatives must last to reach as many people as possible.

I am grateful to Yakera for their love, attention, and patience and to DataCamp for giving me the opportunity to train myself and others. Your support is contributing to my cause: an embracing Venezuelan society in which a person’s sexual orientation and gender expression are not barriers to accessing services or opportunities.

To all nonprofits around the world, empower your learners and staff to tell more impactful stories using data science skills for free. Apply now to DataCamp Donates: https://www.datacamp.com/donates/apply