06/12/2017 09:26 GMT | Updated 06/12/2017 09:26 GMT

Inspiring Africa's Next Great Generation Of Astronauts

A big investment in the development of young women studying STEM subjects and considering careers in science.


The owner of Africa's first privately owned satellite is using the power of technology to inspire the next generation of African astronauts.

Bjarke Gotfredsen, the founder of electronics/technology development company XinaBox, has built dozens of handheld microsensors that will allow high-school pupils to send their own satellites into orbit.

In partnership with the XinaBox Coding Initiative, he has launched the Young Women in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) programme, which focuses on developing the technical skills and mindsets of young women in grades 9 to 11, to encourage them to pursue STEM subjects –– and perhaps careers in those fields.

"We got a list of schools from the Western Cape Education Department and sent an online form to all the schools to fill in, if they wanted their students to participate. The schools that applied were surveyed –– we visited them and interviewed principals and teachers", said Gotsfredsen.

They then chose eight schools in which to conduct their programme.

Gotsfredsen said he hopes the programme will uplift girls specifically –– as too often, they aren't encouraged to enter the STEM fields.

Unfortunately, many girls get discouraged by parents or elders telling them that STEM is not for them. "The discouragement of girls also extends to many principals and science/math teachers", said Gotsfredsen.

Watch the inspiring video below: