Pakistan’s participation in FIRST Lego League European Championship
Yeah, you guessed it right – couldn’t resist doing this blog before the end of this year! Something I’ve been dying to share with you. Felt bad that every time we planned the interview, something would crop up. It is now 12.25 a.m. and I’ve just completed the interview. It is okay, as winter vacations are on, in school. My friend Aisha brought her thirteen year old son Muhammad Mustafa Zahid for the interview. They had just come after attending a wedding, and reached my place at 11.15 p.m. I’ve met this young man often. He also read out the poems of Iqbal for my book launch last month, remember? So, let me not come between you two.,
Mustafa studies in Preparatory School, Islamabad, in grade eight. One day, during the mid-term examinations, he and his friends were called by the Principal, Mrs. Shabnam Ashraf. They were apprehensive thinking it must be to admonish them for something that they had done. They got a wonderful surprise when they were told that they have been selected for a trip to Denmark to Lego Land for their Science Project.
His family had to pay up for the flight and stay expenses, while the school added Rs.50,000 each and the host country also pitched in to give them a great time. The trip was for seven daysl. While the science projects were for four days.
Here are some questions I asked Mustafa:
SG: How many finalists were there?
M: Over 88 countries.
SG: How many days?
M: Event was 4 days, we stayed 7 days, (May 24th till June 1st.)
SG: How did you go?
M: By Turkish Airlines
SG: Where did you stay?
M: We stayed in a university town, Aarhus.
SG: Who went with you?
M: Team consisted of two coaches and four of us boys: Ahsan Bhatti, Abdullah Shah, Taha Ather, and myself. The coaches were Ms. Anika Ayub, and Ms. Hadia Ashraf.
So, here is what Mustafa told me about his project:
There was a tie between choosing a project on saving the Markhor or Snow Leapards.
Now, the interview comes to the final part about how they tackled the selected problem. They found out that the farmers were the real culprits, but their livelihood was being taken by the snow leopards. So, they felt they were justified, they didn’t realize that they were finishing off the species all together. So, this group of youngsters found better ways to tackle the problem:
SG: Would you like to do more projects like this?
M: I would like to, but I feel a bit restricted due to the studies.
SG: What did you like most about this whole trip?
M:The fact that my team mates and I had such a good time together. (Two of them were class mates, one was a senior.)
SG: What did you like most about Denmark?
M: The facilities available – incredible infrastructure, good transport facilities and everything. – The fact that everybody minded their own business!
M: How do you think our country can become progressive, what should we do?
M: We need to educate this generation or the next one. – Because sooner or later we will need more skilled labor than cheap labor.
Here is one smart thirteen year old in Islamabad. Stay blessed, my dear Reader, now you know why I’m so hopeful about the future of my country? Keep smiling and giving these young people all the encouragement and opportunities they deserve.