“[I am] looking back to extend the ladder and create opportunities for more girls to follow my footpath and know the amazing opportunities that are in STEAME careers,” Captain Kgomotso Phatsima shared following an October 7 event sponsored by Aviation for Humanity. The accomplished pilot is the founder of the Botswanan nonprofit Dare to Dream.
As anyone who has been following our posts knows, A for H has been supporting STEAME (STEAM + Entrepreneurship) events organized by Dare to Dream. This is one step in the evolution of our mission, as COVID-19 has significantly impacted the opportunity for sharing school supplies with the underprivileged world with the help of the traveling public.
The Dare to Dream event brought thirty schoolgirls from the Mahupu Unified Secondary School in Takatokwane Village in the Kweneng District of Botswana to the Sir Seretse Khama International Airport in Gaborone for a day full of learning, discovery, and inspiration.
The Mahupu students engaged in a few new activities not previously included in these STEAME days. In addition to touring the Baron 58, Hawker 800 XP, Cessna Grand Caravan, and Cessna 172 at the Major Blue Aviation College, they also learned about and explored the Next Generation of Aviation Professionals (NGAP) Academy’s featured aircraft: the JABIRU 430, JABIRU 250, Blackshape Prime, and Van’s RV-7 Taildragger.
After touring the aircraft, Pretty Kelebang, 17, asked the pilots and engineers who spoke to the group about the requirements for her to become a pilot.
The girls then participated in the De Beers Diamond Industry Exposure Program—an introductory experience to a major industry important to the nation. Then, they completed an Airbus A380 and Discovery Space online program at the Botswana Innovation Hub Science and Technology Park, during which they learned how to assemble and program the A380 aircraft model. They also learned about 3D modeling and printing by creating 3D objects through tinkercad.
With a spectrum of opportunities illustrated to her, Pretty said, “now I so wish to work with anything that has to do with an airport.”
The purpose of the collaboration between Aviation for Humanity and Dare to Dream is to inspire the next generation to discover their potentials through education. In the developing world, especially for young girls, it is difficult for youth to fully ideate their possibilities, particularly in STEAME fields. Our purpose is to share with these gifted students all that they are capable of doing and being.
From Capt. Phatsima: “[Aviation for Humanity is] indeed absolutely planting a seed, changing the life of one Girl Child at a time.”
Aviation for Humanity is proud to have once again collaborated with the Botswanan nonprofit Dare to Dream, which is focused on the advancement of African women and girls through STEAME (STEAM + Entrepreneurship) education. On June 16, the two organizations celebrated this year’s International Day of the African Child by holding an educational aviation event for 30 schoolgirls from Goodhope Senior Secondary School in the Southern District of Botswana. Following the event, student Phenyo assured their hosts that those 30 girls would be the best STEAME leaders of tomorrow.
To start off the event, the girls were taken on a hangar tour at the Major Blue Aviation College at the Sir Seretse Khama International Airport. During the tour, they were able to get up close and personal with a Cessna 172, Cessna Grand Caravan, Hawker 800 XP, and Beechcraft Baron 58 to learn about their uses and features. This was the very first time seeing an aircraft in person for most of the students.
Next, the girls were welcomed to the Botswana Innovation Hub and Science Technology Park by its Director of Innovation and Technology, Dr. Budzanani Tacheba. Dr. Tacheba discussed with the girls how opportunities like this International Day of the African Child event allow them to open up to new mindsets, to develop a new understanding of how to gain STEAME skills, and to apply those STEAME skills to their future careers.
The event’s guest speaker, Margunn Indreboe Alshaikh, was then introduced. The Deputy Resident Representative at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Botswana compared her own upbringing to those of the 30 Goodhope students. “I grew up in a small sheep farm in Norway. I went to a tiny public school with 30 students in the whole school and 5 students in my class.” Alshaik shared that she and her fellow students were expected to make careers of working on their parents’ farms or in nearby towns, but that she dared to dream bigger for herself.
Despite doubt from those around her, including her teachers, Alshaikh sought out and earned a scholarship. This set her on her path to becoming the successful diplomat that she is today. She explained that it was by learning that greater opportunities existed outside of her town that she was able to aim high in her career. Goodhope students Esther and Hope responded by sharing that their views of STEAME careers and their availability to Botswanan girls had widened and thanked Alshaikh and Dare to Dream for inspiring the girls from rural areas to achieve their dreams.
Gorata, a Goodhope senior from Molepolole village, mentioned that rural Botswanan students are faced with challenges such as lack of important school supplies and internet access. Alshaikh answered that the UNDP seeks to meet these educational challenges with programs such as youth development funds and by partnering with organizations like Dare to Dream.
“It was my first time at an airport and the first time I got in a plane . . . I want to be a pilot,” Phemo from the village of Dikgonnye told us after her day at the Sir Seretse Khama International Airport.
In celebration of this year’s UN World Creativity and Innovation Day, Aviation for Humanity partnered with the Botswana-based nonprofit Dare to Dream to bring Phemo and 29 other schoolgirls from rural Botswana to the airport for a full day of education and empowerment.
Having never been to an airport or seen an aircraft up close, the girls had a day full of firsts. They were taken on a tour of four models of aircraft—the Beechcraft Baron 58, Beechcraft Hawker 800, Cessna Grand Caravan, and Cessna 172—and spoke directly to pilots and other aviation professionals. They also engaged with the Airbus Little Engineer program, which allows students to explore STEAM-focused learning, such as aerospace mission planning, robotics, and 3D modeling.
The girls are students in the Artesia Junior Secondary School in the Kgatleng district of Botswana. They live in rural settlements surrounding the village of Artesia. The culture in this region is such that many girls are not aware that they are able to pursue any career, let alone a career in a STEAM field. Following the Creativity and Innovation Day event, 15-year-old Kelebogile shared that “I learnt that whilst still at my age I have to have a dream, work hard, and achieve it. The motivation I had from the captain inspired me and gave me confidence to work on myself.”
Our hearts are heavy.
Currently, we are intently focused on educating ourselves, our loved ones and our community on systemic racism, racial injustice, the history of racism and its continuation today. Recently, we have shared some resources across our social media platforms on anti-racism that we hope you will study and share.
We will continue to read and to educate ourselves and our children. It is imperative for our future generations that we pursue anti-racist actions, remain good listeners, and continue to have these conversations, no matter how uncomfortable they might make us feel.
If our organization is to continue in our mission to create advocates for diversity and inclusion in a global community, we must continue to hold one another accountable, remain diligent and stand steadfastly in solidarity with the Black community. Black Lives Matter.
During this pandemic, we have put our travel operations on pause to do our part to prevent the spread of Covid-19. We shifted our focus to explore creative solutions to continue to promote positive change. We must also do our part to concentrate on finding ways to show support and raise funds for the Black Lives Matter movement.
We are exploring future fundraising projects in this pursuit, which we will share in the coming days. As a small team comprised solely of volunteers, we would love your help in this effort. If you would like to volunteer at A for H, please contact us at email@example.com. In the links below, there are several BLM resources and a list of organizations that we have been compiling. We hope you will read these articles and share.
The Volunteer Team at Aviation for Humanity
Movement for Black Lives:
Black Lives Matter at School:
The Zinn Education Project:
Justice for Breonna Taylor:
8 Can't Wait, a project by Campaign Zero:
North Star Health Collective:
Black Visions Collective:
Minnesota Freedom Fund:
Questions or concerns? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you!
Aviation for Humanity reached children on the island nation of Fiji thanks to our wonderful volunteers. Fiji, an Oceania country in the South Pacific, is an archipelago of more than 300 islands. Aviation for Humanity’s volunteer and traveler, John Ambecrombie, visited a school in Nadi. With the help of local volunteers, he was able to secure school supplies for fifty kids in the village school.
The blog is an opportunity to connect those who have donated with those who have received. Please check periodically for updates.