Opportunities often come in the form of challenges. COVID-19 global pandemic has made us rethink several models and innovate newer models of engagement. In India, the pandemic situation refuses to get better. India tried to implement a strict nationwide lockdown in the initial months of April-May 2020, but nothing seemed to work. During the lockdown, with teams scattered across the country, webinars and online courses were the best options for us to do our bit to engage, educate and empower the youth that is affiliated to India Flying Labs.
Here’s what we did during several months of lockdown.
- We participated in the SheMaps training program in the Philippines and learned how to use simple educational drones to impart STEM education in school students.
- We offered the “Drones for COVID-19” Webinar series, which hundreds of drone volunteers attended. This webinar series aimed to educate and empower young drone volunteers in supporting the local government by using drones and drone-based data in a safe, ethical, and responsible manner.
- We engaged with students from Amity University’s technology fields, telling them about all the fantastic applications that we employed in using drones and participated in a discussion on Innovation Opportunities to tackle COVID 19 using Robotics and DATA.
- We mentored young innovators in the Fight Corona Ideathon organized by the Ministry of Human Resource Development.
- We worked with the Aerial Robotics Club of IIT Kanpur to organise a webinar on ‘Indian Student Bodies in UAV Development.’ This panel discussion included leading young drone entrepreneurs who inspired the students in manufacturing, services, and drones’ humanitarian application.
- We organized a rigorous month-long Advanced Course in Drones for Development that had about 80 students from all continents learn directly from 40+ experts about applying drones and drone-based data in healthcare, disasters, conservation, development, and education.
- We launched the ‘D for Drones’ webinar series to launch Project WINGS in partnership with the Electronics Sector Skills Council of India to advocate drone education for school students. This week-long series engaged in panel discussions with leading industry experts and highlighted the challenges, opportunities, and methodologies in drone education for school students and shared the innovation, manufacturing, skill areas, and job opportunities in the drone industry.
- We launched an online campaign where young drone leaders recorded their videos that had a message for kids about why they should Dream about Drones.
- We participated in the webinar organized by the Technology Engineering and Management Society of The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and presented our work using drones for social impact.
- We participated in the Art Week organized by Goethe Institute that engages school students in engaging projects. We will be working with them to conduct an online workshop for schools from eight cities in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka.
These webinars and online workshops during the COVID lockdown era helped us reach at least 300 students globally. Further, we will continue developing our partnerships through the Delhi Management Association and Women’s Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry to support skill and knowledge development in school and university students and create more supercharged future leaders!
We will be specifically working on two significant projects, Project WINGS and Drones for Daughters with Caerobotics. While Project WINGS aims at promoting using drones for STEM education in schools to inspire kids in good use of drones, Drones for Daughters is explicitly targeted at encouraging more girls to fly drones professionally. This may call for a little more attention, action, and engagement of girls, their families, teachers, industry leaders, and policymakers. In the next few months, we will be creating processes and content for educating mentors in leading these programs in their communities.
We will be participating in the ‘Hour of Code‘ campaign by code.org and design specific use cases for students to use coding along with drones for simulating real-life challenges used by development professionals and humanitarians.
We seek partnerships from schools, universities, student bodies, associations, ed-tech start-ups, volunteers, and investors to further strengthen our programs. Please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org to share your support.