Updated: Jun 27
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.
Dare to Dream and Aviation for Humanity collaborated to organize this special event in celebration of the International Day of the African Child. This day honors the thousands of African students who marched in the Soweto Uprising on 16 June 1976 in protest of the poor quality of African education. It is recognized each year to raise awareness of the continuing need to improve the state of education in Africa.
Aviation for Humanity aims to sponsor many more of these events to continue to empower African girls by sharing that the world of STEAME and aviation is open to them. It is one way that Aviation for Humanity is keeping true to its mission to create a global community that supports education, equality, and empowerment of youth around the world through the pandemic era.
To cover the transportation from the girls’ rural homes to the airport, food for the day, and guest speakers, the cost for each girl to attend the event is 65 dollars. Contributions are currently being accepted, and donors can cover the cost of an individual girl’s experience or can contribute to the event as a whole. Interested donors can contact us at email@example.com or donate through our website.
To see a special CNN feature on Captain Phatsima and Dare to Dream, click here.