Danae Graziano-Hudson, a 9-year-old Londoner, is the latest recipient of the ‘Leaders Award’ – a “creative problem solving, literacy and entrepreneurial project which annually involves over 49,000 pupils” across the United Kingdom.
In marking International Day of the Girl Child, 11 October 2021, we should take a moment to celebrate trailblazing girls like Danae, one of many entrepreneurial girls the world over. Girls whose real-life stories show us that one half of humanity MUST be an equal partner in solving the problems of climate change, political conflict, economic growth, disease prevention, and global sustainability.
Tasked with the question: ‘If you were an engineer, how would you build a Sustainable School House?’ Danae created a school house which runs not only on solar and wind power, but also included a very human element: swings connected to the power supply. In other words, the faster and higher you swing, the more electricity you generate for the school grid. So, the message is clear: play hard to power up!
Beyond the power sources, the roof has a tank for collecting rainwater and the garden has “special flowers to help bees”. Danae’s design shows an all-embracing dedication to sustainable development – including a broad understanding of the interconnections, the stability of ecosystems and the Circular Economy, saying in her cover letter that it’s “crucial you make it” and “you MUST build it because it is Sustainable”.
So, what can we say to Danae and any other girls her age? Well, you might sometimes wonder: does my future really lie in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM, for short)? You might ask yourself in class: ‘Do I belong here?’… Well, we can simply reply: “If you believe in yourself then you can belong anywhere you want to be. Danae, in 2020 you designed an award-winning School House at the age of 8 – and it’s so much more sustainable than many other buildings around the world.”
Did you know? Globally, the percentage of females among Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) graduates is below 15 per cent in over two-thirds of countries.