I know what you are thinking…what does a robotics club have to do with missions? Well maybe that thought hasn’t crossed your mind yet but it is a good question. Education has always been a priority in Christian missions. The Wikipedia definition of Christian Missions states,
” A Christian mission is an organized effort to spread Christianity. … Missionaries have the authority to preach the Christian faith (and sometimes to administer sacraments), and provide humanitarian work to improve economic development, literacy, education, health care, and orphanages.”
Even a secular perspective recognizes the “good works” that Christians do …all with the goal in mind to bring glory to the Lord by sharing the Good News with those who are recipients of the work. This is the foundation of the vision the Lord is working in my heart.
As I talked with young people in Dumaguete – a city on Negros island in the southern Philippines – about the educational opportunities in their local high school, I quickly realized that there was a huge lack of access to technology. What a shame that these students had never had the chance to learn about the basics of robotics……programming, motors, sensors, gears, mechanisms…..especially when you consider that they are surrounded by countries who excel in robotics like South Korea, Japan, China, Malaysia and others.
Take a look at this graphic from the VEX robotics website…..
This is the premier robotics company in the US that is a part of so many technology programs in schools…including the curriculum that I have been teaching for the last 15 years! They are asking educators like me, “What are you doing to help solve the global STEM crisis?” Well I’ll tell you exactly what I intend to do about it!
I propose the following to bring robotics into the local high school of Dumaguete, a school where many of the students I have contact with attend.
- Secure funding for 4 Robotic Starter Kits, 2 laptop computers, and misc tools
- Conduct an after-school or weekend seminar at the high school for students covering pertinent topics that spark their interest
- Train a local teacher interested in starting a robotics club
- Provide funds for a small stipend
On my recent trip to Dumaguete, I was put in contact with the retired chief of police and I shared the vision with him. He became very excited and asked me to keep him in the loop. He was confident that once the program was up and running, he would use his influence to talk to the school officials. He believes that they would be very interested in funding the continuation of the program and even in expanding it to other schools.