The HacKIDemia project was born at Singularity University last summer where we participated in the Global Grand Challenges program held at the NASA Ames Research park. In this program 80 students from 36 countries were selected in order to create projects that could solve grand challenges that humanity is facing today: poverty, access to food, access to clean water, access to health care, access to education, access to energy, protection of environment, and access to security. Bobi was one of the students who won a social impact competition that got her a scholarship to participate in this program and Stef and Brent were teaching fellows for education and future finance.
During three months we had met the most active change-makers and we discovered the latest technologies and solutions that could improve people's lives. These technologies were introduced to us during our life time, but the kids are born in this open access and technological era, so we decided to give them a voice and include them in this ambitious task of solving grand challenges.
Many of the complex problems we are facing today could be solved trough empathy, curiosity and play and all of this comes naturally to kids, so we decided to inspire them to imagine a better tomorrow and give them the tools to build it.
In the past year HacKIDemia organized workshops with kids in schools, hospitals, in favelas, museums, in the park and in a stuck train in many cities around the world, e.g. Bucharest, Sofia, Austin, Sao-Paulo, Lagos, Dallas, Las Vegas, San Jose, Paris, Bangalore. Complete map of our hubs can be found here. We organized more than 80 workshops with 10000 children and 400 volunteers in more than 40 countries. Every time we were amazed by the amazing capacity of these kids to invent things and to see solutions where we have forgotten to look. We also discovered that children have no limits, we had a six year old girl who soldered a sound to light unit for two hours and she didn't want to stop until she finished.
We discovered and helped kids in Nigeria who created their own printed circuit by hand because there was no other way of getting them. In the same country we managed to gather the largest group of mentors, 50 fresh graduates that can't find a job and discovered the joy of making things together with the kids they were mentoring. They also discovered that they can make a living from doing what they like and by helping their local community.
Last summer we were very active in Asia. We held workshops in China, Japan and India. Especially the workshops at Noida Deaf Society in New Delhi were amazing. We had 100 young deaf people talking and making experiments with their hands. It's hard to express what one feels when seeing so many people smiling and debating with their hands about what DNA is and how we could make science in our kitchen.