Last Tuesday, the University of Cape Town (UCT) opened its doors to some eager high school students from local township schools for a Youth Open Day outreach event. This event was organized by a lovely UCT medical student I met recently, Theodora, who is part of the Career Development UCT Surgical Society. I met Theo during my first visit to UCT’s Health Science campus for a mini Foldscope training session, and then had the pleasure of attending this program to help host a Foldscope workshop!
When I arrived around noon, the students had just finished two clinical workshops on CPR and suturing. Then, we were all treated to a fantastic talk by UCT’s very own (and very cool!) Vice Chancellor Mamokgethi Phakeng, who shared her inspiring story to success against shaky odds.
Poverty should not be a barrier to success.Prof. Mamokgethi Phakeng
From talking about her drive to fight assumptions and doubters, VC Phakeng gave meaningful advice to students in the auditorium, promising that UCT will help students succeed if they really want it and show results.
“I’m poor, that’s why I am where I am…be curious, find out, and don’t make assumptions.”Prof. Mamokgethi Phakeng
Afterwards, we moved to a classroom to start the Foldscope workshop. The students were from non-profit organisations AfrikaCan and IkamvaYouth, which aimed to introduce high school learners from marginalised communities to UCT that day.
The students were astounded by the simplicity of Foldscope, to get their hands on an origami microscope and build it from the ground up.
Here’s to the start of a budding journey for our new Foldscoping students, may they continue to be curious and work hard for their dreams!