Science in a Suitcase (SIAS) partners with various non-profits around the world to create fun, hands-on, STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Math)-based educational programs that foster the development of such critical skills as creative problem solving, resiliency against failure, storytelling and more. For the past 3 years, SIAS has partnered with the Miracle Foundation to create opportunities for members of the tech community to come together to start LEGO robotics clubs in various rural orphans throughout India. This year, we are shifting our focus to Steilhoogte Primary School, a disadvantaged, rural farm school in the Western Cape province of South Africa. Headmaster Mr Spamer and his incredible staff are bringing transformational changes to the lives of these children by not only focusing on improving their education but on building a sense of community. They’ve gone from a simple school with 3 shacks, to 5 nice buildings with a full kitchen. The children all wear uniforms (sewn by local women) to help put them on equal footing when they walk through the doors as many of them come from very poor backgrounds. They have instituted school assemblies, songs, flag raising assemblies to build a sense of pride. They bought a bus (that they rent out to earn the school money) so that the kids can go compete against other schools in sports teams. They’ve hired computer and other specialized teachers, built up the meal programs to ensure kids have something to eat each day and much, much more. The school has made such incredible changes that there’s now a waiting list for students to get in.
The Whole Foods led a trip for their employees to this school several years ago to help build a dining hall and was blown away by the incredible things the staff and students were accomplishing at this school. We are beyond excited to help the expand their educational initiatives through the creation of a robotics program!