Cristella Uwiduhaye, 13, is a Primary Six pupil at High Hills Academy located in Kicukiro District. Since her childhood she has always had the urge to become an engineer. However, the foundation she is supposed to receive as a child is not enough at school due to the limited time for practical sessions.
“When you learn without practice what you hear is more like a distant dream. You can’t figure out how that happens in the real world. Even your imagination remains dormant because it is not nourished, ’she says.
Thankfully, Uwiduhaye has found a remedy to her remorse after joining Children’s Creativity Foundation where she gets the opportunity to venture into age-appropriate hands-on skills in engineering and computer science.
“Now with the creativity lab, I feel more inspired to pursue my dream career in engineering. With the materials here, I do a lot of practices and explore my inner potentials. In the two weeks I have spent here, I have learnt how to create computer-based animations, an electricity circuit and I’m excited to learn more as time goes on,” she says.
Children’s Creativity Lab is a project initiated by House of Technology Ltd to foster the next generation of innovators, critical thinkers and problem-solvers. Children aged between 6 and 13 years old get introduced to the world of computer science, engineering, electronics and robotics.
Ildenfonse Mungwarakarama, the founder and director of children’s creativity lab, says when children design, build, reiterate and revise their creations, they participate in real-world applications of engineering and design principles. Along the way, they learn important life lessons about creativity, grit, failure, and success.
He says the idea came after realising the gap in the education where children don’t get enough time to practice things related to their passion at an early age which may lead to unfulfilled career outcomes.
“Through children’s creativity lab, we strive to develop children’s creativity skills at a young age, create equal opportunities for all talented children and promote creativity culture in future generations. We want to create a generation of well-nurtured engineers by giving them proper couching and hands-on skills. In engineering we empower kids to become makers. One of the great things about doing engineering projects is that kids actually learn how things work - from gravity, physics and other concepts.
“The computer lab, on the other hand, offers children a platform to experiment with visual blocks using Scratch programme, then progress to HTML and CSS as they design games, animated story, and so on,” he explains.
Mungwarakarama says the programme started in Kicukiro but they have plans to establish children creativity labs in all schools to give mentorship to selected talented children the opportunity to progress in a convenient environment.