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Airbus Foundation and Iranian Red Crescent Society launch humanitarian youth programme

Posted 24 May 2016 · Add Comment

The Airbus Foundation and the Iranian Red Crescent Society (IRCS) unveiled a joint initiative to train thousands of Iranian teenagers aged between 12 and 14 in robotics and resilience techniques, developing their skills to respond to disasters and ensuring safer and more resilient communities for the future.

The programme, which rolled out in April in Tehran as a pilot, will include three IRCS youth centres in Tehran this year, and expand to Isfahan, Mazandaran and Golestan in 2017, followed by Fars, East Azerbaijan and Lorestan in 2018. The Foundation and the Iranian Red Crescent aim to reach more than 6,000 participants by 2018. 

Andrea Debbane, executive director of the Airbus Foundation, said: “Resilience is a critical life skill and a major factor that contributes to shaping the endurance and achievement of individuals, industry and nations. Airbus Group has always sought to use its skills and resources to invest in and assist communities around the world, and we are confident that the partnership the Foundation is initiating with the Iranian Red Crescent Society will have a resounding success for years to come.” 

The IRCS will bring its network of 400 branches in 31 provinces to bear in expanding the reach of the Airbus Little Engineer (ALE) programme among its youth members across the nation. 

“It is an opportunity for the IRCS to find corporate partners willing to work committedly from the ground up, to respond to ground realities in complex environments and to take the long view and create scalable solutions,” said Dr. Masoud Habibi, Head of the IRCS Youth Organization. “We are confident that this relationship will empower and engage the youth to better care for their communities before, during and after disasters and will present a successful model to be used and replicated elsewhere.” 

The collaboration agreement between the Airbus Foundation and the IRCS focuses on the popular ALE programme, an initiative dedicated to instilling an appreciation for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) among the youth in the region. The ALE programme aims to inspire and engage students through robotics and aerospace workshops and ultimately contribute to creating a sustainable stream of talent for the region. 

Originally designed as a one-day aerospace workshop for teenagers, the ALE Iran programme has been expanded into a seven-week module focusing on the humanitarian needs in times of disaster. The module was developed in cooperation with the IRCS and is based on its expertise with earthquakes and other disasters in Iran. 

Participants in each group will be trained in core humanitarian mission areas including establishing communications in the wake of a disaster, relief and rescue operations, managing supplies and logistics and ensuring equilibrium. 

The programme operates on four levels: first, training 12- to 14-year-olds in robotics, boosting their STEM skills; second, in disaster management, improving students’ understanding of and response to risk reduction, preparedness and relief; third, building a network of engineering students to serve as mentors and trainers; and fourth, building resilience in both sets of students.

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