From English literature to Robotics

Growing up I wanted to be an engineer, but was told that it work reserved for men. I wanted to be in the army but my entire family opposed this dream. I thought I could be a journalist but was warned of the danger of being killed or harmed. After getting my baccalaureate in 2015 I didn’t go to the university because my family was against all I wanted to do. Finally, in 2016 I enrolled in the English department and started my BA in English Literature. When I was a kid I wanted to do many things but there was no platform for me to express myself or to be supported. I am grateful to God that on the 3rd of july 2017, I met an amazing woman who completely changed my life and has inspired the person I am today. had a quick chat with and told her about my dream, what I wanted to do and how I love working with kids. She then invite me to go and visit her students and spend some time with them. That is where my journey of leadership and advocacy started. I join the NGO and became Media Consultant, Coordinator of the STEM program, Educator for the juniors program and mentor of team Comoros of Robotics. I didn’t have any background in Robotics but it was English that led me to the profession. When we were invited in 2018 by First Global to participate in a world Robotics competition I was appointed to be the mentor of the team thanks to my knowledge in English. I was working with our mentors who were American and our kids only understood French and our local language. I had to be as an interpreter and a guide for them as I master English. I was passionate about the work, and decided to spend more time doing research in order to better give back to the team. I had to start from scratch learning about Robotics, computer programming on Google blocky in order for me to be able to explain and teach the kids. Thanks to our mentor and my dedication to the work, our team in 2019 won a silver medal as the most courageous achievement team out of 191 countries. That same year we were among the 10 personalities of the year in our country. This is to say with dedication and hard-work you can achieve anything. That it doesn’t matter how life feels like it’s closing doors for your ambitions, because purpose makes way for you, and whichever path you take, you will always land right where your passions are. Also, in life, you have to look for the environment that suits your ambition and vision. Don’t rush because others have already done it, be patient and wait for your turn.

Thanks to English I am now the mentor of team Comoros of Robotics and Deputy head of STEM cluster at South African youth forum.
Photo credit: Photo provided by the storyteller.

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Armel Azihar sly-vania

Armel is a youth Educational activist, Youth advisor at the Transforming education summit,advocate for girls and women’s equality and SRHR Advocate. Armel worked with IMARA Comoros NGO where the crossroads of STEM, Arts, Leadership meet. she is the Media consultant of the NGO, Coordinator and lead educator of the STEM program which teaches scratch,Computer programming, lego and many more. Armel is a UNESCO SDG4YOUTH Network Member and GPE youth leader advocating for the right of education for all. She is the deputy head of Education,Science,Technology cluster and country Director for Comoros at Sayof SADC.