Excitement was palpable at Entebbe International Airport as the Mayor of Entebbe Municipality, Fabrice Rulinda, proudly flagged off a group of teenagers from Young Engineers Uganda who are representing Uganda at the prestigious Vex World Robotics Championships 2023 in Dallas, Texas.
The team of talented young stars, who were part of the renowned Young Engineers Uganda STEM EDUCATION organization, have worked tirelessly for months, honing their robotics skills and developing cutting-edge technologies to compete on the global stage.
Their hard work and dedication has paid off, earning them the honor of representing Uganda in this highly anticipated international competition.
Mayor Rulinda, a staunch advocate for innovation and STEM education, was beaming with pride as he addressed the young engineers before their departure.
“You are not only representing Entebbe, but the entire nation of Uganda,” he said, adding “Your passion, creativity, and ingenuity are an inspiration to us all. I have no doubt that you will make Uganda proud at the Vex World Robotics Championships.”
The young engineers, ranging in age from 9 to 14, were brimming with excitement as they boarded the plane to Dallas, accompanied by their instructors and mentors. They had spent countless hours designing, building, and programming their robots, which were set to compete against teams from over 70 countries in various challenges and competitions at the championship.
The team had overcome numerous challenges along the way, including limited resources and access to cutting-edge technology, but their determination and passion for robotics had propelled them forward. Their journey was a testament to the power of innovation and the potential of young Ugandan talent.
As the team touched down in Dallas on Monday, they were greeted with a warm welcome from the international robotics community. The championship venue was abuzz with energy and excitement, as teams from around the world showcased their robots and competed in intense battles of skills and strategies.
The Ugandan team, adorned in their vibrant national colors, wasted no time in showcasing their robots, which were equipped with innovative features and unique functionalities.
Their robots have already impressed the audience and fellow competitors alike, showcasing their prowess in engineering, programming, and teamwork.
Throughout the championship, the Ugandan team is likely to face tough competition from experienced teams, but they remain undeterred.
“They will use their critical thinking skills, problem-solving abilities, and teamwork to tackle complex challenges and make strategic decisions on the fly,” says Young Engineers Founder and spokesperson, Journalist Arinaitwe Rugyendo.
Rugyendo says this being their first at this world event, it is a win for Uganda.
“This is what matters. They have opened the door for the rest of the Ugandan children who will be critical to the future of this nation. Competing at this ‘World Cup’ of Robotics Championship is already a win for Uganda and Africa.
Their efforts are already paying off. They have advanced through the rounds, garnering praise for their innovative approach and tenacity,” he added.
The Ugandan team’s unwavering determination and dedication are also catching the attention of international media and fellow participants, earning them accolades for their impressive performance, including a special GIRL POWERED badge of honor for fielding more girls than boys on its team.
Team Uganda consists of the following members:
Lowena Mwiza Rugyendo (14) – Viva College School, Jinja
Liam Mukisa (12) – Mengo Secondary School
Ciara Nyamate Bwesigye (13) – Taibah International School
Pearl Ayebale (12) – Kampala Standard Primary School
Celline Nyonyozi Bwesigye (11) – Taibah International School
Samuel Kazoora (11) – The Hungry Caterpillar International School
Aleem Mangalji (9) – The Forest School Online
“Young Engineers Uganda is proud to have such a diverse and talented team representing Uganda at the Vex Worlds Championships, and they are determined to make their mark on the global stage with their passion for robotics and commitment to gender equality in STEM,” says Maureen Karamagi, who is heading Team Uganda.