Bring Astronomy Education to Kids in Tanzania
Last fall I had the great privilege of meeting and traveling with Mike Simmons, the President and Founder of Astronomers without Borders. This organization fosters and follows through on the idea that the stars belong to all of us, and that astronomy is a worldwide cultural and scientific heritage. We happened to be in Poland for a meeting called “Communicating Astronomy with the Public” and as part of our after-meeting trip, we traveled to Torun (the home of Nicolas Copernicus) and visited two “Astrobazas” — observatories built and run by students at their respective schools. It was a great trip and I was really impressed with the level of interest and expertise of the students involved.
One of the projects that AWB is doing is called Telescopes to Tanzania, and it’s the subject of an IndieGoGo fundraising campaign. The group has a goal of raising $38,000 to improve science education Tanzania, and as of this writing, they’ve raised $6,549 with 39 days to go. AWB has been actively working with and supporting Tanzania’s schools since 2011, trying to bring textbooks and other materials to students who don’t have access to even the basic materials that kids in the U.S. and other countries take for granted. The group is using their crowdsourcing campaign to build the The Center for Science Education and Observatory in the country, which will help students and teachers in the country with astronomy and science training. By integrating astronomy into the national teaching curriculum, the center will be able to develop and circulate hands-on science and astronomy teaching resources to schools around the Tanzania. In addition, the center will provide hands-on laboratories, and an astronomical observatory with a portable planetarium, and internet connectivity so that students and teachers can connect one-on-one with science centers and students and educators worldwide.
Do you have some spare cash lying around? It only takes $5.00 to make just the minimum contribution to the AWB’s effort. Of course, you can (and should, if you’re able) give more. You could even fund the construction of the observatory for $15,000. Of course, you get cool perks, plus you get the satisfaction of knowing you’re helping one of the world’s premier astronomy outreach organizations bring science awareness and education to the students in Tanzania. Your money will go a long way. Here’s a breakdown of what the $38,000 will cover.
If you can give, please do so. If you’re interested in other projects and accomplishments of AWB, check out their Web page. And, if you want to learn first-hand about AWB and their current project, visit them during their August 6th G+ Hangout. The topic is focused on the development of STEM education in developing world. Anousheh Ansari, astronaut and social entrepreneur Ron Garan, and people from Africa will be joining Mike and the gang. Check it out at the AWB Google+ page and learn more about this remarkable organization.