By:  Joey Gujral, Grade 6 Student, IICS

Over the last few weeks, I took my initiative of teaching Robotics (“Robo-Codo-Ninjas”) to communities outside our school. In my endeavour to spread my knowledge of Robotics to everyone and while I was researching about how I could make a difference, I realised that underprivileged children do not have access to these opportunities. I firmly believe that getting children excited about robotics & technology from a young age will bring together a positive learning experience for them.

This journey of finding the right group to work with took me on some very interesting interactions with different people. With the help of my parents, & various network connections (esp’ Ms. Sandrine R), I approached different humanitarian aid agencies that could help me interact with various children.

Eventually I ended up reaching out to two groups – one, a group of displaced Syrian Refugee children living in Çapa, and the other, a group of children with Special Education needs who were being segregated due to their learning disabilities.

The goals were simple – “1. Help underprivileged children understand the importance of robotics & coding, and enable them to develop an early interest in this field. 2. Show them how technology education can enable a brighter future, despite all economic, language, cultural and social barriers.”

I am happy to share that both groups took up the learning experience very enthusiastically and shined wonderfully during the workshops that I conducted over several weeks.

The workshops that got created, had a wonderful atmosphere of cooperation, enthusiasm, and respect for each other while creating new amazing robots. With a little competition thrown in, the children were soon trying to out-do one another in making a better robot. The children and I, both in turn fed off each other’s positive energy and the smiles and squeals of joy are fun to watch.

One participating child, Nadir remarked, “I had never thought that an opportunity like this to ever come to us.. Thank you very much!”  Nadir’s father had a very touching message when he said, “After the conditions in which we moved to this country, we feel very fortunate that our children had this opportunity and learn this technical skill. Thank you Joey.”

Yasemin’s mother said,” These workshops opened new horizons for my daughter. Thanks Joey.

Arda’s mother,” I am very happy & satisfied with what my son learnt in Joey’s Robotics workshops. I feel peer to peer learning is a very good concept, children learn with more fun & enthusiasm.

I am really happy that I got this opportunity and I would like to thank everyone who helped me along the way.