Things to do: Helping out ISD Robotics

The Robotics team at the International School of Dakar began last year with 12 students and a single team.  We successfully competed in a tournament in Barcelona in February 2016.  This year we have 30+ students, two teams, and are sponsoring our own competition here at ISD.  Last years’ students mentored this years’ students and both sets are now mentoring a group of 21 Senegalese public high school students and two Senegalese mentors.  But we need some help.

Our goals:

  1. Help the Senegalese students & mentors learn about Vex Robotics so that they can create a team and a robot (or two) to compete in our local tournament which takes place in March.

http://www.vexrobotics.com/vexedr/competition/competition-resources

  1. Help the Senegalese students & mentors compete in the first ever International Robotics Olympiad as the country representative of Senegal.  This is sponsored by the FIRST Robotics Competition (www.firstinspires.org) from the United States.  FIRST global (www.first.global) is the new international version, and is inviting teams from 125 different nations.  You can find a complete explanation here.  They provide some funding for lodging and travel for those nations that need financial support.  When the competition is released in April 2017, we will mentor the students in the design, building, and programing of their robot.  A select group of 5-7 Senegalese team members will travel with the robot for competition in Washington, DC July 16-18, 2017.   You can see what First Global represents here.

What we need:

  • Travel costs.  While we are expecting the foundation to help with the majority of the actual travel expenses, there are some items that are fairly expensive and, frankly, beyond the reach of the majority of the public high school students that we are mentoring.  Specifically, we need to raise enough funds to provide Senegalese passport cost (20,000cfa) and U.S. visa application cost ($160) for 21 students and 2 mentors.
  • Operational Support.  Each Saturday is a full day of work for the robotics students and mentors.  The public school students generally do not have the financial ability to buy their lunches on campus.  There is also a high probability that some of them would be unable to provide a packed lunch from home.  In an effort to ensure that all of the public school students are fed, and in an effort to provide teranga and a team-building culture, we wish to provide a shared lunch experience for these students and mentors to eat together with our student mentors.
  • Team materials.  Items to help form a team identity.  Probably t-shirts, hats, buttons, banners, and a website.

How one can help:

Donations of time, materials, or money.

  • Sponsor / co-sponsor a lunch (e-mail for sign up sheet)
  • Help with the setup and breakdown of lunch.
  • Assist in the classroom / shop (especially mechanically-inclined individuals and programmers)
  • Preparation of team promotional materials
  • Website creation

Sponsoring businesses, groups, or individuals can be featured on our website or other promotional materials.

Please contact micahh@faculty.isd.sn if you are interested in any of these possibilities.  Realize that you are helping to educate the youth of the country in a field that could radically change the face of the Senegalese economy.  In the words of one of our sponsored students, “With this competition my dreams come true ; its an opportinuty to make all possible”

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