“[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.”