Thirty Orphaned Schoolchildren Engaged in Technology-Focused Workshop
Orphaned children represent one of the under-represented communities in Pakistan, which is home to 4.2 million orphaned children, as per a UNICEF report. Due to an absence of parental support, these children remain most at risk of violence and exploitation. Responding to the call of responsibility in ensuring the empowerment of these youngsters, NUST School of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science organised a unique community service workshop focused on engaging the certified orphan children in educational activities through technology.
The workshop involved a two-week hands-on training, from August 22 to August 31, 2022. A total of 33 children, from Classes 5 to 10, from four different local schools/trusts, participated in the training. Each activity was led by two STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics) trainers. The activities were based on diverse technologies including Wireless communication, Radar, Electronics, Robotics, Coding 3D Printing, and the Internet of Things (IoT).
At the end of the camps, the students were provided with STEAM workbooks which will enable them to continue learning and exploring more hands-on STEAM activities. The workshop was also aligned with UN sustainable development goals (SDGs) including no poverty, quality education, and reduced inequalities. The training was financially sponsored by IEEE Antennas & Propagation Society (APS) and IEEE Humanitarian Activities Committee (HAC) under the theme “AP-S Relevant Technology for Local Community Challenges”.
The closing ceremony was held on August 30, 2022, at the SEECS seminar hall. The chief guest was Dr. Wu Jun (Micheal) who is serving as a Director of the China-Pakistan Intelligent Systems Lab (CPInS) at SEECS which is an offshoot of the joint collaboration of NUST and the Institute of Software Application Technology (GZIS), China. At the start of the ceremony, Dr. Nosherwan Shoaib, Associate Professor at SEECS and Project Lead, briefed the audience about the workshop and the future & past related initiatives. Dr. Wu Jun distributed the certificate and giveaways to the students followed by the closing remarks by Dr. Muhammad Ajmal Khan, Principal SEECS.
The short-term outcome includes the awareness of the fact that orphaned children are the vital pillars of society who have equal rights, while the long-term outcome is to prepare these youngsters to join the engineering profession as well-rounded citizens of the country. The success of such projects will lead to more humanitarian projects involving other underrepresented communities such as the importance of transgenders to the economy.