Last year, I got to meet and work with an incredible team of students in Rwanda to pilot a low-cost engineering lab. Now, one of the students from the team, Alphonse, has taken the initiative to make version 2.0 of the lab, which focuses on providing physical and human resources for youth to solve technical problems in their communities.
He is looking for seed funding to cover start-up materials costs. My birthday wish is that you consider making a small donation to help Alphonse and the Kepler Tech Lab team to reach their goal.
Please read more about the details of the fundraiser from Alphonse below.
Thank you in advance for making dreams a reality for aspiring engineers in Rwanda!
What are the overall goals of Kepler Tech Lab and why do you think these goals are important to achieve?
The overall goals of Kepler Tech Lab are, but not limited to: providing young students with engineering skills which could enable them to work of different technical projects, providing youth with tools and space to create solutions based on community needs, alleviating mismatch of technical skills through educating future generations, and engaging community members in making different prototypes based on Human-Centered Design, co-creation, Creative Capacity Building. These goals are important because youth unemployment rate in Rwanda increases day-to-day regardless the fact that they went to schools; employers do not find qualified employees with technical skills they are looking for and the needs most of community members depend in importing products to satisfy them. We believe that if we can educate young students and engage youth and community members in making we can encourage production of locally produced products in Rwanda.
What is the current state of the project? What sorts of background research or testing have you already done?
Over a year, since August 2015, we have provided engineering skills through different courses (electronics, energy, electrochemistry, and programing for data analysis) to about 76 students. We have been testing viability of the project, Kepler Tech Lab, to students from different levels of education (university and high school levels). For students who successfully finished preferred modules were able to brainstorm and work on different projects based on skills they have gain in the lab or outside of the lab, not forgetting community needs. We were able to work on and develop different projects, such as automated irrigation system, bird-scaring shaker for rice fields, and paper recycling and waterproofing, just to list a few.
Why should people donate to you and what will you use the fundraised money for ?
Since we are developing the lab with an intent to make it a makerspace for individuals to be provided with resources and tools to help them make prototypes for their business ideas, we rely on donations because we believe that donations we can get can contribute a lot to the impact Kepler Tech Lab seeks to bring in Rwanda’s society. This is being said that, if provided with funds, the money would be primarily spent on purchasing materials and equipment which can help us provide high schools students with engineering skills and engage community members in making. The below table is the budget for $1,000 and how they would be used.
|Description of activity/ task
||Cost in $ (per unit)
||Number of Units
||Total Cost in $
|Basic lab tools
|Woodworking and power tools
|Hole saw set
|Drill bit set
|Hot glue gun
About the team
The laboratory is led by Alphonse Habyarimana who is manager and developer. Alphonse has skills in teaching, facilitating, management, and project development. It’s been a year managing this laboratory and he developed different projects including an automatic irrigation system and he helped students to work on their projects. Sylvain is a course facilitator at Kepler Kigali and he is an instructor at Kepler Tech Lab working part-time. Sylvain has experience in assisting and mentoring students as well as project development and research skills. Lastly, Celestin who is an intern is a computer scientist and electronics engineer.
P.S. We are currently building our team and we are hoping to have more people with variety of skills in different fields.
Where can people go to get more information about Kepler Tech Lab?
For more information about Kepler Tech Lab, people can visit our weblog: www.keplertechlab.wordpress.com and/or reach out to us via email: firstname.lastname@example.org