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Hacking for kids project Afrimakers reaches crowdfunding milestone


Stefania Druga grew up within sight of Castle Dracula, and yet somehow, this is not the coolest thing to know about her. The true-blooded Transylvanian is also the founder of Afrimakers, a crowdfunded project to bring Arduinos, Raspberry Pis and other hacking gear to poor schools across Africa and thus create an entire generation of punk rock, self-starting makers.

The good news is that the Indiegogo fund already has enough cash to get Afrimakers into two of the seven countries it wants to visit next year.

In a gratuitous self-plug, I’ve also published a long and very interesting interview with Druga over at ZDNet today. She’s one of those people who, by they are 26, have already done much more good in the world than most of us can hope for by the time we’re in our seventies. An ex-Google employee, Druga left the search giant a couple of years ago and embarked on an exceptionally interesting global adventure during which she just happened to put together a really exciting program that – among other things – teaches six-year-olds to solder.

From that article:

After a short spell at Google … the 26-year-old found herself working in Cambodian orphanage.

“The most beautiful thing happened,” she said. “I was teaching the older children in English, and teaching them how to pass on their skills to the younger ones who spoke only Khymer — which is a really hard language to learn, even if you’re good with languages.”

Could, she wondered, IT skills be taught in the same way — a cohort of learners of all ages learning and experimenting together, and sharing their skills with others in an ever-expanding network of schools? Most importantly, could it be fun?

If you’ve got even the slightest interest in the so-called ‘maker revolution’ and think that Chris Anderson might just be on to something – or simply thing we need to be doing more to encourage kids to take up STEM subjects – I strongly recommend you head over and read the feature here.

The Indiegogo project is here.


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