Young people are true agents of change. Most of the time, their sphere of influence reaches far beyond that of adults. The reason? They are the perfect symbol of what the future holds for us, for our planet, and for humanity. They hold in their hands the ability to raise hope. What, then, is our duty as adults? How can we help young children and teenagers actualize their dreams, and turn their hopes into reality? These questions laid the foundation of what we today proudly call World Science Movement. We have come to realize that our duty is not to tell young people what to do, it is to give them the platform to lead the way. To give them this platform, we needed many things: resources, volunteers, recognition, business strategy… When we had none of these, we had one thing that would later make all the difference, and give us all we needed: It was hope. It was the hope we had from witnessing children, like the students at Marlborough College or St. Mary’s Primary School, walk towards their dreams with confident, factful, and hopeful steps.
We have come a long way from those days when we needed a business strategy or volunteers. Thankfully, we now know the steps we need to take to reach where we want to be, and we have hundreds of thousands of people walking down this road with us. Although we need more resources to make more dreams come true, we are truly inspired by what we have achieved with what we have.
It is our case with Marlborough College students that sent us down this memory lane! They have embodied everything we dreamt of as we began this journey with their innovative, result-oriented, socially responsible mindset. Thanks to them, we realize that the impact we create is much more multifaceted than we could ever imagine. There are many, many partners that made this dream happen. All the partners bring something to the table, and they also walk away having gained something from it. These partners range from small children to corporate individuals, from teachers to NGO workers. Let us introduce you to the partners in this case, and begin with the stars of this particular case: Marlborough College!
With its rich history and world class education, Marlborough College is one of the UK’s most prestigious co-educational boarding schools. Founded in 1843, it comes from a long line of tradition! By laying the foundation of their current modern approach to education in this prosperous history, Marlborough College has raised many outstanding individuals. In their own words, they want their pupils to be “compassionate and considerate; intellectually curious and interested in ideas; prepared for academic challenge; self-motivated, self-disciplined and independent; able to take the initiative; respectful of people from other times, backgrounds, beliefs and cultures; properly aware of their own strengths and weaknesses; properly ambitious and aspirational; open-minded.” This perfectly fits with YGA’s, the other partner’s, vision, which is explained on YGA’s website as follows: “YGA raises double-winged young individuals giving all of us hope for the future: conscience and knowledge. These young individuals grow their wings while producing innovative technology projects useful to humans.”
YGA (Young Guru Academy) is an international NGO and a leadership school founded in Turkey in 2000 and operating in the UK, USA and Italy. Every year, 50,000 students apply to YGA to become a volunteer, among which 50 are selected for the program. These young volunteers commit their time and energy to bring world class STEAM education to children from disadvantaged economic backgrounds. So far, almost half a million children have been reached via this project through YGA volunteers’ STEM workshops. YGA partners with Imperial College, Harvard, MIT, Stanford, University of Berkeley, London Business School, Politecnico di Turino; and received awards from United Nations, Great Place to Work®, GSMA, and Edison Awards. In addition to organizing and running workshops, YGA volunteers train local teachers to reach even more children. Basically, they create waves: waves of change! This project has become the basis of what we today call World Science Movement.
For the workshops, YGA uses award-winning STEAM kits and a STEAM learning application (Twin App) made by Twin Science &; Robotics, the co-founders of which are also YGA alumni! This UK-based edtech company was founded with one essential purpose: To swap the current education system (which is monotonous, one-size-fits-all, and incomplete) for a playful, individualized, double-winged learning experience! Still working hard towards this goal, today, Twin produces science & robotics kits and creates new content daily for the STEAM application Twin (with 60,000 active users), which helps kids discover their unique interest areas and creates a personalized educational path for them.
Teachers, YGA volunteers, students, Twin employees - they all came together to bring a collective vision to life. Colin Smith, a Marlborough College professor, perfectly summarizes this collaboration:
“My name is Colin Smith and as well as teaching Mathematics, here at Marlborough College, a co-educational boarding school in the S-W of England, I am also the Director of Partnerships, responsible for developing meaningful links with local, national and global communities. Over the past year or so, it has been my privilege to work alongside the Young Guru Academy on socially responsible projects within our partnership primary schools.
Last year, Marlborough College pupils, and representatives from YGA, initiated an innovative science and robotics project with St Mary’s Primary School, using the award-winning Twin Science kits. The ultimate aim of this initiative is to encourage primary school pupils to design unique projects to help find solutions to society’s problems.
Given current lockdown restrictions, the project has been redesigned, with the science projects being completed using Zoom, and a phone app called Twin. This app is being used by 60,000 students around the world and allows YGA to continue with its mission. Marlborough students who are interested in STEM topics, but who are also committed to inspiring young bright minds in less advantaged circumstances than their own, are mentoring students at St Mary’s Primary School; Marlborough College pupils stand to gain much from mentoring St Mary’s pupils.
Marlborough College is the first school in the UK to work with YGA in a long-term partnership. We want to help YGA with their aim of nurturing future leaders who are aware of the world’s problems and who are interested in finding innovative technological solutions. World Science Movement project is a remarkable opportunity to inspire a generation of socially literate scientists and engineers.”
This story of inspiration and selfless effort is still ongoing. Marlborough College students hold bi-weekly workshops over Zoom in which they tell young primary school pupils about the steam engine, or the Industrial Revolution through games, animation videos, quizzes and even DIY activities. Even though a global pandemic has led to a worldwide lockdown, these young people have proven one thing: The joy of science truly knows no boundaries!