This is a guest post from the 2017 WiSci Girls STEAM Camp which took place in Malawi, Africa. WiSci is a public-private partnership effort between Girl Up, the U.S. Department of State, Intel, Google, NASA, and other partners.
By: Luyando Nchimunya Mainza, Zambia (17 Years)
Being a girl, especially one surrounded by so many female mentors in my life, I always found it easy to contradict any belief that girls are inferior to boys. Though there weren’t many of these occasions, I still remember the few times that I have felt inferior to a boy. Coming to the WiSci camp changed that. Now I know just how superior we can be.
I can count my two most favourite sessions. The most exciting one was during mentor office hours. I originally didn’t understand the concept of it, so I was not looking forward to the session. However, when I sat down with Laurie from Intel, we talked about so many things. One striking topic was how deaths due to cervical cancer have increased in Africa. For a moment, I was sure of what I wanted to become when I complete high school. My second highlight of the camp was building a robot with Intel. I went into the class thinking I was going to break the computer. Funny right! I had only heard about coding and to be told I would be coding! Woooooooow! This made me even more excited to work on a concept I had only heard about. Surprisingly, I managed to write my first code. The robot didn’t do what it was supposed to, but I actually manipulated the machine with my own hands. Yes, I did it!!! That was an amazing experience, getting to see what I can do not only as a girl but as an individual.
Along the way I was taught the true meaning of leadership. I realized that I was not at the WiSci camp just for myself. I came here for the girls in my community who go to school all day, work all afternoon, take care of the house all night and study whenever they can. Girls who spend countless hours trying to shape their future, who face rejection, prejudice, teen pregnancy and teen marriage. I will go back and speak to them about how much potential they have despite all their hardships. Whether it is through starting a Girl Up club or through raising awareness, any small action can have impact. If there is one thing that Girl Up has taught me, it is that if girls work together, they can change the world. We are the future!!!!