Astro Molo Mhlaba targets the issues of inclusivity and diversity in South African science by engaging its most underrepresented group - black girls from underserved communities - in astronomy programmes at various stages of their education. We uses astronomy as a tool to inspire girls and young women to be passionate about science and motivate them to pursue a career in STEM.
Through its regular and long-term structure, the Astro Molo Mhlaba provides girls with the continuous support required to achieve their scientific potential, which institutions in their communities seldom have the resources to provide.
Our programmes include:
An after-school programme providing astronomy-based activities to local primary school children on a weekly basis. Currently, four primary schools have confirmed the participation of their female students in the programme: Molo Mhlaba, Chumisa, Luleka, and Isiphiwo/Vuzamanzi. Through these activities, we aim to:
- Transmit to children fundamental astronomy concepts;
- Promote a positive association of astronomy with enjoyable and stimulating activities;
- Develop the girls' confidence and comfort in approaching scientific subjects, and empower them to pursue their scientific curiosity with assurance;
A series of once-a-week astronomy lessons aimed at both grade 11/12 (G11/12) female students from local high schools and recently-matriculated young women from the community. The latter will also be trained to run the above-mentioned Astro Club as Astro Club Facilitators (ACFs). All participants are taught and mentored by professional female astronomers, and provided with advice and support on how to pursue a STEM degree.
- Participants are provided with once-a-week maths & science tutoring by a professional tutor, in order to ensure they meet the academic requirements needed to apply to university and for financial aid opportunities to fund their degrees;
- ACFs, along with their teacher training, will receive a bursary for their work in the Astro Club, to ensure they can have a continuous source of income while learning about astronomy and considering a pursuit of a STEM degree.