The Sharjah Girl Guides were first established in 1973, and spread across the United Arab Emirates in the following years, leading to the establishment of the Girl Guides Association of the United Arab Emirates in 1979. The organization allows girls to develop as strong citizens and leaders, much like the Girl Scouts of America. As part of their own growth, the Girl Guides often end up helping others along the way, too. Such was the case with a recent project that demonstrated the girlsâ€™ impressive knowledge of technology as well as their commitment to making life better for others.
February has been designated as UAE Innovation Month, which grew out of Innovation Week in previous years. It was developed as a festival celebrating innovation across the UAE and aiming to strengthen the countryâ€™s position as a global innovation hub. Events include the launch of new national initiatives, showcases of products and services, hackathons and competitions, labs and workshops, and more across each of the Emirates. As part of Innovation Month, the Sharjah Girl Guides presented an innovation of their own.
Fifteen Girl Guides, aged 12 to 15, recently created a 3D printed model of a park that could be used by individuals with disabilities and special needs. It was the second of two projects for Sharjahâ€™s own Innovation Week; the other involved a 3D printed book about iconic landmarks in Sharjah. The model of the park helped the girls develop their own CAD and 3D printing skills, as well as showing them how their work could help others in the community.
â€œSharjah Innovation Week provided the perfect opportunity for the guides to not only challenge themselves in a technical environment but also required them to innovate in ways that could give back to the community,â€� said Shaikha Al Shamsi, Manager of the Sharjah Girl Guides. â€œThe park model for children with special needs showed the guidesâ€™ skills in the design elements of the project and their understanding of how to accommodate children of various abilities and needs, and how to make their lifestyles more enjoyable and their leisure time more accessible.â€�
The park model and book were completed in six sessions, each of which took approximately three hours to complete the two projects. The park, while still in a concept stage, has the potential to be turned into an actual park at some point. The book, meanwhile, was created to educate both guests and visitors on Sharjah.
The Sharjah Girl Guides have often showed that they value technology, with other past activities including a 3Doodler workshop. Projects like this latest are a great example of the importance that organizations like the Girl Guides have in the lives of young girls, teaching them about the impact of technology as well as their own abilities to use it for good purpose. If the park does eventually get built, these girls will have become architects at a young age, and even if it remains simply a model, they will have learned valuable lessons about 3D design and 3D printing that they can take with them into the future â€“ perhaps using them to directly impact the special needs community in another way.
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