It was almost 11:30 am in the morning when myself and my camera guy, Domingo were led into the Library of Lancaster University, by Angela our contact person.
There, she led us to a group of four girls and a man who were busily working on their robot we now know is called ‘Butterfly’.
The four girls, Foriwaa Abu-Sakyi (16), Enam Dartey (16), Eyram Nud-Duwor (16) and Dillys Annan (17) showed the most enthusiasm and passion I have rarely seen in a bunch of teenage girls on their science project.
We quickly got the sense that the Butterfly meant a lot more to the girls than anything else.
Some sat on the floor working on Butterfly, one other was fixing who knows what part of Butterfly in a chair and the other was working with their coach, Benedict Amoako to configure the programme Butterfly will be running on.
The team are brilliant young Ghanaian girls who quickly made us understand that they’d rather work on robotics than spend their time doing anything else.
‘These days we use machines to solve problems. We also develop programmes that help us to solve our energy crisis,” the girls said in an interview.
Girls as young as 16 and 17 are building a robot that will work as a transporting vehicle in a controlled energy production field.
That is how they know they can help others – by producing the energy we need to spur the economic growth of the country.
Impressed? That’s not all.
In Ghana, we have had our fair share of natural disaster and other man-made ones like illegal miners (galamseyers) getting themselves trapped in a collapsed pit.
Most of the time they can’t be rescued and the formerly illegally gold mining hole then becomes their grave – their final resting place.
In many instances, rescue teams have not been able to save trapped miners because the rescuers themselves feared for their lives.
They can’t risk following the trapped miners down a collapsed pit.
But these four Wey Gey Hey girls who are far removed from such problems partly due to their socio-economic backgrounds are still concerned about the poor trapped miners and are thinking up ways to save their lives.
They are thinking up developing autonomous rescue machines that could be sent into such dangerous situations to rescue people.
After spending about an hour and 12 minutes with the girls, their strong commitment to their robot and their desire to further their STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education had been made very clear.
It is bigger than their personal dreams – it is their way of playing heroines.
They love engineering and they would really love to catch up with their counterparts in other countries who have similar burning desires.
To prove a point that girls from a developing country such as ours can also build a functional robot from scratch that is equal to and even better from robots built in developed countries, these girls are eager to attend the First Global Challenge to be held in Mexico on August 15.
The FIRST Global Challenge is a robotics Olympics. It is themed around the 14 Grand Challenges of Engineering identified by National Academies of Engineering, each year a different Grand Challenge takes center stage in an effort to foster understanding and cooperation among the youth of the world as they use their abilities to solve the world’s problems. The challenges we face as a global society need to be solved, and the next generation can meet the task — together.
Participating in the competition is not just about ticking a box, it is about making a statement that, given the equal opportunity, girls from Ghana are just as excellent as children from elsewhere in the field of engineering.
But this statement is at risk, faced with the stark reality of financial challenges, the robot they have spent hours to build will not live up to its full potential.
The girls need a sum of $25,000 to cover all the expenses of their Mexico trip where Butterfly will help them lift Ghana’s flag even higher.
As at now, $10,000 has been raised leaving a deficit of $15,000.
They are supposed to travel before August 12 so, their hopes of making it to Mexico to attend the First Global Challenge is literally fading by the second
If you want to help these girls and let them know that the country they love so much supports their dream then please make donations to raise the additional $15,000
Please send your donations to
Mobile money – 0555338873;
Bank – GT Bank (East Legon),
Account Name – STEMbees Organisation,
Account Number – 2161022911590.
Or just write a cheque out to STEMbees Organisation.
Let’s give them the support they need. Foriwaa, Enam, Eyram and Dillys represent the future of girl power in science and the field of engineering and robotics.
After spending a little over an hour with these bright girls, we were convinced of their tenacity and resolve to use science to improve our country.
Let’s support this and help these bright young women inch closer to their God given purposes.