In 2020, we found a gap while looking for children’s books and stories highlighting local voices and leaders in the field of drone technology. Stories were available, but the characters and voices weren’t local, and the topics covered lacked a local perspective. This was when the idea of the Ariel & Friends children’s book series came to life!
Ariel & Friends in the Magic of Mangroves is the first book in the series, and it focuses on a real-world application of drone technology in the islands of Panama. The story is told through a young girl named Claudia, who, after one stormy night, sets out to protect her island home from the severe storm by planting more mangroves along the coastline. She will need all the help she can get, and that is when the drone experts at Panama Flying Labs step in.
Drawing inspiration from a seed planting pilot project in 2020, the story aimed to weave traditional values of environmental preservation with modern-day technology like drones, which can help Claudia on her mission by planting more mangroves—further and faster. To preserve the local perspective of the pilot project, the story utilized actual experts from the field. It brought them into the book through fascinating and intelligent characters like Dania, Dr. Humberto, Mitzi, and many more.
The challenge of creating the first book in the series allowed us to bring together creative minds and individuals from Panama, India, Malawi, Kenya, Fiji, Switzerland, and Mexico. With this diverse team, each character in the book was given their unique voice and personality, together with a picturesque backdrop that brought out the beauty of Panama.
Once the book was almost ready, we launched our Kickstarter campaign to crowdfund for the printing and distribution of the book. Within just 24 hours of the campaign’s launch, we had reached our target goal of CHF 3000, and by the end of our campaign, a total of 106 pledgees had raised that amount to CHF 5884.
With this fund, we were more than able to print out the books, bind them and have them delivered to everyone who contributed to the campaign. Evidently, since wrapping up our campaign, Ariel & Friends has traveled far and wide from Japan to Panama, the United States, India, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Germany, and the land down under in Australia!!
In addition, a total of 30 Spanish and English books were donated to children, schools, and libraries in Panama by many of our pledgees and the team at WeRobotics. Several activities have been organized to help with this donation drive which is currently being led by Panama Flying Labs Coordinator and beloved book character Dania Montenegro.
While the campaign is over, it doesn’t mean you can not get your hands on a personal copy of Ariel & Friends in either English or Spanish. We still have a few copies left, so head to the Ariel & Friends webpage and get your copy today.
We at WeRobotics would like to thank all those who believed in our project and supported us. Without your continued support and effort, this project would not have been as successful as it was, and we are grateful.
From Dania, Mitzi, Humberto, Ana, Fern, Uttam, Biplav, Shruti, Adja, Tiam, Denzel, Amrita, Dan, Gareth, Patrick, and Claudia & Ariel, of course!