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UAE: Emirati sisters create fully functional space rover with Lego bricks

Dhanusha Gokulan (Principal Correspondent)/Dubai
dhanusha@khaleejtimes.com Filed on August 25, 2021
Supplied photo

The two sisters unveiled their colourful rover on Wednesday.


Emirati sisters Fatima (18) and Shaikha Alkaabi (8) have invented a fully functional space rover using Lego bricks. The little inventors hope their model of the rover would make it to Mars mission one day.

In the lead-up to Emirati Women’s Day, the two sisters unveiled their colourful rover on Wednesday, as part of an event to inspire more girls to take interest in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (Stem) fields of study through play.

Danish toy company Lego launched its ‘Girls Are Ready’ global campaign in the region at the Dubai Astronomy Centre. The event featured words of encouragement from Nora Al Matrooshi, the first female Arab astronaut, as well.

During the event, the sisters spoke about their love for space and their passion for bringing new ideas to life with Lego bricks.

Fatima was recognised as UAE’s youngest inventor in 2015. She said: “Building the space rover with my younger sister Shaikha was a wonderful way to share our love for space, and I learned that I could encourage her to apply her own creativity by building something that was uniquely ours and reflected our personalities.”

She said: “I’m excited to have been part of the ‘Girls Are Ready’ campaign and look forward to inspiring other girls to design their own creations that represent their dreams.”

Matrooshi said: “Whatever their passions, girls can achieve great things through the support of their parents, teachers, friends, and the wider community. I’m proud to lend my voice as a source of inspiration for young girls looking to pursue new interests, especially girls who want to pursue an interest in Stem.”

Gender stereotyping

As part of the campaign, a study launched by Lego found that it is very common that Stem-related play is more associated with boys. Urszula Bieganska, the head of marketing at Lego Middle East, said: “We know from our research (Play Well Report) that 78 per cent of parents globally say that they treat kids differently based on their gender and nearly 70 per cent prefer kids to play with toys ‘associated’ stereotypically for their gender.”

She explained: “It is very common that Stem-related play is more associated with boys. In launching the ‘Girls Are Ready’ campaign, our aim is to not only encourage young girls to pursue their dreams, but to shine a light on what the world can do to support their journeys and achievements. While girls have always been ready, the world is still playing catch-up to their creative power and must sometimes be rebuilt to ensure we fully understand and promote girls’ ambitions.”

The campaign looks to shed light on the challenging limitations imposed by gender biases, by driving focus around the role the wider community can play in encouraging their ambitions.

dhanusha@khaleejtimes.com

author

Dhanusha Gokulan

Originally from India, Dhanusha Gokulan has been working as a journalist for over ten years. For Khaleej Times, she covers NRI affairs, civil aviation, and immigration issues among other things. She completed her BA in Journalism, Economics and English Literature from Mangalore University in 2008 and is currently pursuing her MA in Leadership and Innovation in Contemporary Media at the American University in Dubai. In her spare time, she dabbles with some singing/songwriting, loves food, and is mom to an over-enthusiastic Labrador retriever. Tweet at her @shootsprintrite.





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