Building a More Inclusive Drone Technology Industry in Zimbabwe
No one should be limited to access to information and opportunities in this fast-evolving, technologically advanced century by their physical abilities. In fact, in many cases, technology helps people with disabilities positively interact with their environment. The drone technology industry is no exception.
Various initiatives have encouraged information sharing and exposure to technology in multiple countries, including Zambia Flying Labs, which as part of Annual Flying Labs day in 2019, hosted Drones in STEM Education for the Hearing Impaired.
As part of Zimbabwe Flying Labs’ goal to reach 10,000 learners, our team facilitated a one-day Drone Workshop in the City of Kings, Bulawayo, at King George VI. The workshop aimed to introduce drone technology to members of KGVI. The KGVI members were school leavers with a hearing impairment. We were assisted by two interpreters who also participated in the workshop.
I want to be a teacher. It will be good to have drones in the class; it will make learning fun.
The workshop allowed ten members to expand their knowledge of drone technology and explore opportunities within the industry that are conducive to their abilities. The workshop explored real-world use cases and causes for flying drones. Of those ten members, 8 had a hearing impairment, and two used wheelchairs. They used various tools, including visual aids and demonstrations. As a result, the members were taken on an exciting journey to help them understand and experience drones uniquely. In addition, our team learned a few signs, which proved advantageous when flying with a nearby observer.
The workshop concluded with the members having a new lease of energy. There was an understanding of how drones could be applied to whatever career path they were pursuing. For example, one member said, “I want to be a teacher. It will be good to have drones in the class; it will make learning fun.”
Thanks to our partners ZoF Africa for making this possible. If you would like to partner with us, please email Zimbabwe@flyinglabs.org. We look forward to more opportunities to introduce young learners to the wonderful world of drone technology.