With the aim to promote innovation among children with special needs, and reinforce their inclusion in society at all levels, Eshraqa, the Corporate Social Responsibility arm of the Khimji Ramdas (KR) Group recently lent its support to the Oman Down Syndrome Association’s pioneering workshop on Robotics.
An approved project based on the material and instruction developed by NASA’s neurodiversity network (N3), the workshop for children with special needs was held in collaboration with Prakramika Vocational Institute (India) and Edutech4Space (Dubai). The goal of the initiative was to promote an inclusive STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) environment in the Sultanate.
The workshop began with a brief introduction to space science, technology, and robotics; following which, the attending children were guided on the process of making a working robot. With the help of representatives from Eshraqa and volunteers from different non-governmental organisations (NGOs), each attendee was assisted in assembling robotic parts to make a robot. The excitement was evident, children loved the challenge when the robot made by them came to life and moved everyone at the end of the workshop.
Reaffirming Eshraqa’s focus, Anil Khimji, Director, Khimji Ramdas Group said: “At Eshraqa, it is our earnest endeavor to promote innovation among children; and robotics is a wonderful learning activity that is apt for neurodiverse children. By training children with special needs in STEM subjects through hands-on application, and organizing workshops of this nature, we help immensely in developing the analytical and social skills. It is Eshraqa’s privilege to support Oman Down Syndrome association’s robotics workshop.”
“Robotics is a good way to focus on children’s individual capabilities and help boost their confidence and self-esteem. It is a great teaching tool and develops problem-solving, teamwork, and personal skills among children. I would like to thank Eshraqa for their support in organising this workshop, as well as all the individuals and organisations that came together to make it a success,” mentioned Ahmed Mohamed Al Jabry, Chairman of Oman Down Syndrome Association
Highlighting the use of advanced robotics technology to empower the student-teacher learning curve, Dr. Gayatri Narasimhan, Founder and Director of Prakramika Vocational Institute, India, said “Robotics leverages a child’s natural curiosity in the environment around them to nurture their interests, in developing their capabilities. It is also an important tool to help neurodiverse children integrate with mainstream students to create meaningful relationships, learn effective communication skills, and explore different learning pathways. The role of a teacher in guiding children with new techniques is also a critical success factor.”
Shrisudha Viswanathan, Scientist, Ex-ISRO, Founder & CEO, Edutech4space FZ LLC, UAE commented: “It is important to train kids to be creative and innovative. Through STEM programmes such as Robotics we aim to do precisely this. An enrichment experience aiming to involve neurodiverse children in mainstream education to the fields of STEM and robotics, the workshop aimed to inspire them to consider STEM for further education and in their future careers.”
A certificate of participation was given to all attendees on behalf of the Oman Down Syndrome Association; including volunteers, and students of the Melody Music Center.
Khimji Ramdas’ Eshraqa has been established on the premise that the private sector has a responsibility towards the development of local communities and empowering talented individuals in the Sultanate. By working toward nation-building at the grassroots, Eshraqa aspires to contribute meaningfully to the education sector by building infrastructure that will lead to the enhancement of knowledge, skills, and capabilities in society.