KT Impact: Dubai group donates Dh50,000 to 12-year-old Kenyan genius' STEM project

Patrick Njoroge Wachira is raising funds in the UAE to train underprivileged children back home and make them future-ready



Photo: Supplied
Photo: Supplied
by

Joydeep Sengupta

Published: Thu 7 Apr 2022, 9:42 PM

Last updated: Thu 7 Apr 2022, 10:01 PM

Patrick Njoroge Wachira, a 12-year-old Kenyan prodigy, who is setting up a mobile science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) laboratory, received a donation worth Dh50,000 from Indian Academy Dubai (IAD), which is part of the LEAMS Education Group.

After reading his inspiring story published on Khaleej Times, IAD came forward to support Wachira's endeavours.

Nabil Lahir, the chief executive officer (CEO) of LEAMS Education Group, weighed in on his company's decision to support the Kenyan wonder boy.

"We read this amazing story about Wachira on Khaleejtimes.com a couple of days ago and immediately decided to support his initiative. His project is close to our heart," Lahir said.

"If a 12-year-old boy can start such a noble initiative, why can't we stand by him? We thank Khaleej Times> for publishing such an inspiring story on its digital platform," he added.

LEAMS Educational Group operates several educational institutions, including Indian Academy Dubai, Apple International School, and Oxford School Dubai.

Bansan Thomas George, the founder, and CEO of Unique World Robotics, who unearthed the young talent in 2020, is the guiding force behind the STEM laboratory. He is enthused by the responses to the teenager's cherished project.

"We're overwhelmed by the responses since the article was published on khaleejtimes.com a couple of days ago. LEAMS Educational Group was the first to come forward and support Wachira's initiative. And several others are likely to follow suit. Journalism is helping us promote a good initiative. Together, we can make a big difference," George said.

A prodigal talent

Wachira is a dreamer; when he was only 10 years old, he started building robots and simultaneously started teaching children computers and robotics.

He has developed an initiative — PNW Innovation Programme – to offer free education to those Kenyan children who are deprived of basic computer learning and the internet.

Wachira created a robotic solution to urban life — identify blockages in sewerage networks using robotic sensors connected to smartphones — that detects and alerts the control room to undertake preventive measures.

"I created a prototype, which could be fine-tuned over the years. It also detects sludges and toxic chemicals and alerts the control room," said Wachira, arguably the youngest CEO of his initiative.

"If I get a chance to implement it in the UAE, I will be happy to collaborate with any civic bodies — be it the Dubai Municipality or the Sharjah Municipality — to implement this robotic solution," he said.

His robotic solution drew the attention of Expo 2020 Dubai authorities, who asked Wachira to display the innovation at the Annual Investment Meeting (AIM) Startup Conference that concluded on March 31.

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Wachira's passion for machines helped him to experiment with laptops at the tender age of 10 years. Soon, his backyard became a de-facto computer laboratory —from where he started to develop robots.

Driven by his curiosity and thirst for knowledge, Wachira embarked on the vision for a future-ready Kenyan youth.

His tryst with computer technology started as soon as he enrolled in a Nairobi school. His skills include coding, electronics and electrical engineering, design thinking, robotics etc. He is also interested in civil aviation and technologies related to it.

He currently teaches school and university students in Kenya for free after gaining expertise in robotics and programming languages such as python. He wants to spread the concept of STEM in Kenya.

"We will start our field trips in May. This will help Kenyan children to become future-ready. I've a vision to roll out this programme to other East African countries as well. However, we need more funds and start-up capital to realise my cherished dream," he added.


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