On a family holiday to the US in 2015, local businessman Girish Betadpur suddenly fell ill - but this was no common holiday bug. In fact, Girish had contracted the life-threatening infection meningitis.
Due to the brain injury caused by the infection, Girish spent a year in hospitals in America and across the UK, including Milton Keynes University Hospital and the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford.
Finally, the local dad was referred to a rehabilitation centre, here in Milton Keynes, before he was finally discharged and could return home to his family. Suddenly, simple things such as remembering people’s names and even recognising his daughter became alien to Girish.
Before contracting the life-threatening condition, Girish had worked for several years as a software engineer and as an IT business development manager. He subsequently began running his own IT company, which provided solutions to nurseries and pre-schools around the country. But when the impact of living with meningitis took its toll, Girish made the difficult decision to sell his business and focus on his recovery.
“Admitting that I couldn’t continue to run the business in the way I had been previously was a real battle for me but I knew that I needed time to rehabilitate before I continued with any active role in a business. It wasn't just me who needed to recover, but also my family who had to come to terms with the effects of my life changing brain injury.”
Many would give up after such hardship, but Girish wanted to put his digital skills and his passion for child development to use. After five years of rest, recovery and intense therapy, Girish revisited his passion for digital technology and child development – this is when his kids’ coding business, Code Ninjas, was born.
“My love of business never died, and when me and my wife Divya were researching coding education opportunities for our own daughter, Aadya, we realised there really wasn’t any provider in our community that fulfilled that need. So, we took matters into our own hands by launching Code Ninjas! Milton Keynes is a real hub of innovation when it comes to digital technology, and so we want to give children living in our area the best head start possible by providing a quality standard of coding education, delivered in a fun and exciting atmosphere.”
Through ongoing treatment and his own coping mechanisms, Girish has overcome his limitations, and he and his wife, Divya, have seen real success in bringing kids coding education to the local community since launching in 2020.
In fact, Girish and his team now welcome over 150 children a week to sessions at his Dojo, located in Broughton.
“I am incredibly grateful for what we have built. There were points when I was worried I would never be able to do the most basic tasks again. I have found a sense of purpose again with Code Ninjas and it brings me joy to see the difference we are making to the kids.
"The impact of meningitis and the subsequent brain injury is something I am always going to live with; however, I do feel like I have been given a second chance. If I look back at how far I’ve come since I was rushed off to hospital in 2015, it gives me the belief that anything is possible if you want it enough. I would also like to thank my family and the incredible team at Code Ninjas for all their support. I couldn’t have done it without them and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.”
To register or find out more about Code Ninjas, click here.