So who are the rock stars inspiring young talent with practical skills? They are the Maker Club. the Maker club is redefining modern education by introducing young children to a rare opportunity. Through a literal hands-on approach, young makers are taught to apply technical knowledge practically. This could possibly be a turning point in the learning process in Zimbabwe that has remained unchanged for decades.
Simba and Priscah Mufunde established The Maker Club aiming to create a community of young creators who are taught to develop physical prototypes based on a STEAM (Science,Technology,Engineering,Arts and Mathematics) curriculum. A desire to equip their three children in a world fast-changing and largely influenced by technology was the impetus for the creation of the Maker Club.
Young innovators are taught not to fear but pursue technology, fabricating gadgets based on woodwork, engineering, electronics, coding and robotics principles from readily available everyday materials. Developing a technical mindset in young children opens them up to a future of opportunities.
The Maker Club serves to answer questions often asked by young prodigies, why go to school? Why read and receive a good quality education? The answer is not simply to impress the examiner as this has been the stereotype for many years.
Priscah Mufunde believes, “Learning is about empowering people with information they need, showing them how it applies practically to their daily lives and finally challenging them to use that knowledge to add to the knowledge body.” Learning is a lifelong pursuit and failure is certainly part of the process. In order to ensure real success, ideas must become the most crucial asset, a mantra often repeated by the two founders.
Exposing young minds to unique challenges allows them to become creative and extend knowledge beyond just pen and paper. Creativity and broad mindedness are key in solving various challenges existent in the world today. The Maker Club are nurturing a generation of young African wunderkinds that will have a part to play in the innovation creation process. Honing their collaboration, communication, creativity and critical thinking skills will enable them to be influential problem solvers. Additionally, this movement will lead to greater socio-economic developments both locally and across the African region.
As with any early stage initiative, finance is key. However, the local economic restlessness has deepened the difficulty in accessing funds that permit such great initiatives the chance to expand and create more opportunities for young children. Nonetheless, The Maker Club has seen positive results over the last year starting with just 10 prodigies to currently having over a hundred members. Many local schools have begun to engage and fuse their curriculums with The Maker Club, offering students a much more intriguing learning experience. Various challenges still remain as the club is unable to acquire adequate human and capital resources.
Fostering mentorship relationships through workshops and team talks certainly will go a long way in guiding young souls, empowering them to make accurate decisions based on real life experiences. Priscah Mufunde says having a community of makers and innovators shadow young creators, essentially gives value to collaboration and information sharing.
“Stick it out!” an affirmation that has allowed the two founders to remain steadfast and passionate to serve the needs of Zimbabwe’s star bright generation despite the many challenges existent countrywide. Often chasing money is detrimental to development. Priscah believes purpose and passion- fuelled objectives will enable them to stand the test of time. The future looks lustrous for The Maker Club and their community of young pioneers. We applaud their amazing work.
Impact Hub Harare will be hosting the Siemens Makerspace showcase this September where The Maker Club and great techies will be presenting their amazing projects. Stay tuned on our social media platforms to find out more!