“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.”
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