In celebration of World Space Week 2017, UNAWE Student Ambassadors Saif Ullah Khan and Yumna Majeed from Lahore in Pakistan, teamed up to conduct space science outreaches in the local neighbourhoods and at schools. Together, they engaged over 700 children with astronomy education, aided by the Universe in a Box.
Being ambassadors of The Planetary Society Pakistan, Universe Awareness, Lahore Astronomical Society, Astronomers Without Borders and for their passion to spread space science education, Yumna and Saif decided to organise daily activities during the World Space Week of 2017.
“We taught them in a way by relating the content with fun and interactive examples so that the learning was not dull and they did not lose the interest in the lecture. All this was taught keeping in mind the theme of this year’s World Space Week ‘Exploring New Worlds in Space’.
On 4 October, day one of World Space Week 2017, the UNAWE Student Ambassadors visited the local neighbourhood in Lahore for a lunar observation. Majority of the participants were children of age group 4 to 11 years old. The difference between astrology and astronomy was discussed at each event, because in this community, these subjects are often confused.”
Yumna and Saif also hosted events at local schools. On the second day, they hosted a solar observation at the ZICAS School System Senior Campus.
Due to popular demand, they revisited the neighbourhood on the third day: “The reason for doing another lunar observation session was because many children in our community requested to do it again — they wanted to know more about the moon. This time, there was an even greater turnout, including children as well as adults.”
On day four, the Student Ambassadors performed Space Science Outreach by visiting Sweet Homes NGO in Lahore.
On the fifth day, Saif and Yumna organised a solar observation at Unique High School Boys Campus Gulberg.
On the sixth and final day, they returned to the ZICAS School System Senior Campus, where they used the Universe in a Box, as well as their own Solar System Model Box. “We also used the Universe in a Box provided to us by UNAWE to teach them more about the wonders of space. They asked us so many questions and we were amazed to receive such an active response from these children.”
Yumna Majeed and Saif Ullah Khan received recognition by Lahore Astronomical Society for their efforts. On the conclusion of World Space Week they were invited by virtue of their great space outreach efforts and given appreciation letters by the President of Lahore Astronomical Society, Mr. Umair Asim. The Student Ambassadors thankfully said: “We are honoured.”
The two Student Ambassadors of UNAWE Pakistan conclude their report of World Space Week 2017 saying: “The profound notion of inspiring a young curious mind with the infinity of the cosmos never ceases to amaze us. ‘We are a way for the cosmos to know itself,’ as Carl Sagan once said.”
Saif and Yumna collaborated with several others to make these events possible for the kids in their region and would like to thank Mr. Umair Asim (President of Lahore Astronomical Society), Mr. Roshaan Bukhari (Outreach Coordinator of The Planetary Society Pakistan & General Secretary of Lahore Astronomical Society), Mr. Maroof Mian (from Lahore Astronomical Society) and Mr. Stephen W. Ramsden (Director of Charlie Bates Solar Astronomy Project for providing Lahore Astronomical Society with solar glasses; the solar glasses were given for space science outreach purposes by Mr. Umair Asim) “We are thankful for all their support from the bottom of our hearts.”
Saif Ullah Khan is an 18 year old A levels student at Lahore Grammar School Johar Town Senior Boys Branch in Lahore, Pakistan, and head of the Astronomical Society there. Yumna Majeed (19 year old) studies Medical Lab Technology at Allama Iqbal Medical College in Lahore, Pakistan and is head of the Science Club there.