Connecting India and Australia
Science Technology Engineering Maths Social Enterprise Learning – STEMSEL – an initiative of the Federation of Indian Communities in SA and University of South Australia, is making waves both in India and South Australia in promoting world class education.
At the recent STEMSEL Inventors Competition, students involved in the eLabtronics STEMSEL India project were able to enter to a local Australian community event, with their entries were judged via Skype from Adelaide and broadcast on state television in Kerala.
The STEMSEL Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation, run by university students, dedicated to teaching young people about microchip applications and programming, with a strong focus on social enterprise.
South Australia Premier Jay Weatherill said he was impressed with STEMSEL intern Richards David who started STEMSEL India, employing ten engineers and managers, while still studying in Adelaide. David also works to coordinate STEMSEL India’s entries to the annual community event.
UniSA Vice Chancellor Professor David Lloyd said he was excited to collaborate with STEMSEL India and expressed interest in incorporating STEMSEL Inventors projects as part of the new UniSA Institute of Making to accelerate innovation and student engagement.
From a corporate social responsibility perspective, STEMSEL India has been providing free training to 92 underprivileged girls from Mercy Home Orphanage so they can use STEMSEL projects to fundraise for a fellow student who has cancer.
Event organiser Graham Brand said the growing international significance of the STEMSEL competition reinforced the importance of technology in bringing people together and improving quality of life.
“We need to be smarter with our products that we sell to the world, and yet respond with compassion and understanding of other cultures,” he said. “The community at large is the beneficiary of the goodwill and miracles of our students in STEMSEL, and still holds the key to the skills acquired by its global citizens, to ‘self-solve when problems arise.”
At the recent community event, people in Adelaide were able to connect with people in India, South-East Asia and the USA for competitions in Robotics Invention, Innovation and Enterprise.
“These people may not be able to come to Australia, but with modern technology, they have been able to connect, and engage with us and to form STEMSEL groups willing to compete at Show-time to share and display their inventions in a creative manner,” Graham Brand said.
“This is a truly global fellowship in technology. This also maintains our philosophy of working together with local, interstate and overseas people to assess and compare our products and progress in Advanced Technology in its many diverse fields.”
Frankey Gerard Fernandes
A new migrant gone MAD!
My name is Jason Sardinha and I have gone MAD! I like the MAD (Make A Difference) concept of the STEMSEL Foundation because it empowers people in need, like me, who just landed in a new country!
In barely two months I felt settled, thanks to STEMSEL. I am only 17 and I came to Adelaide from Bangalore with my parents and my younger sister to live in South Australia. I was full of hope and raring to go, ready to take my adventure by the horns. I had to adjust to a new lifestyle which was a huge challenge, but there was nothing that could dim my spirits.
Two weeks after arriving Adelaide, Club India International took me to attend a “Welcome to new arrivals” function by the Federation of Indian Communities of South Australia (FICSA). An HR manager gave a lengthy speech about the gloomy job situation in South Australia. He said he received 200 applications when he advertised a position in the newspaper. That was shattering news to me and my family who had just left everything in India for a better life in Australia!
Then came Peng Choo, a STEMSEL Foundation Director, who confirmed the HR manager’s experience. However, it took him only a few minutes to assure us that all hope was not lost and that we new arrivals could still immediately contribute to the Australian economy. I was left wondering, how?
Two days later I joined STEMSEL to find out what Mr Choo meant. Since then I have gone MAD! I am now a manager of STEMSEL Young Professionals, developing a new section for the Royal Adelaide Show STEMSEL Competition. This idea is the brainchild of Tom Calder, the Australian Trade Commissioner based in Mumbai, to support the Rajasthan-South Australia sister-state agreement signed by the Chief Minister of Rajasthan Vasundhara Raje and Martin Hamilton Smith, Minister for Investment and Trade in November 2015.
Thanks to Raju Narayan, the Director of India for the Department of State Development (DSD), I am able to team up with local NGOs, businesses and community leaders to support the STEMSEL Inventors Social Empowerment Competition. I am so happy to work on the international entries from India which we hope to include Barefoot College from Rajasthan, the Mercy Home Orphanage in Kerala and Yuvajyothi Children’s Home in Nagpur, Maharashtra. My challenge is to encourage teams from STEMSEL Inventors Clubs in Hong Kong, the USA, Malaysia and Australia to join the competition as individual or joint entries to promote the STEMSEL motto of “Many hands make light work”.
All of the above of course could not have been possible if not for international student Richards David who started STEMSEL in Kerala, employing 10 engineers and managers while still studying in Adelaide.
On behalf of the STEMSEL team, I wish to acknowledge the ongoing support from Bill Spurr (AO) the Chair of Study Adelaide and CEO Karyn Kent. I am indebted to the committee members of FICSA and Club India International for their generous mentorship.