Six Two pupil Fara Bakare has started a non-profit organisation called STEM in Africa (SIA), which held its first event this month in Lagos, Nigeria. Here, Fara discusses the organisation's inaugural conference.
“In a bid to encourage interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), in Africa (SIA), I started a non-profit organisation called SIA. Our first event was on 16 July 2020, we organised a conference of fun and invigorating science experiments and workshops for 70 students from disadvantaged communities in Nigeria, with the theme of ‘identifying and breaking barriers’.
“The conference focused on promoting interest in science but also giving these children a chance to safely interact with others in the midst of a pandemic. Our events were held simultaneously at three different locations and all Covid-19 protocols were duly observed.
“SIA Conference 2020 was a huge success and it was even more exciting to see the kids' reactions during the experiments and workshops. The elephant toothpaste and dragon’s breath experiments received the most fans, it was so fulfilling and heart-warming to see the huge smiles on the children’s faces. Many of the students were incredibly fascinated by the lava lamps and they even got to take one home with them.
“At the beginning, we spent a lot of time going through the Covid-19 protocols and teaching them how to wash their hands, which majority of the children did not know how to do. The connection and engagement I was able to build with the children across all venues was incredibly humbling and inspiring, from speaking to the students about their future aspirations to showing off our best dance moves in the dance competitions.
“Thirty-four students out of sixty said they were now considering a career in STEM after SIA, which is honestly amazing. Fortunately, we get to continue the relationship built with our students through our mentorship scheme. I am very excited for the future of SIA and the barriers we are bound to break.”