The Turi Design Technology room is a place where ideas come to life. It is also the one place where a social media account is welcome and actually used as a tool for learning. “The students have to open Pinterest accounts where they seek inspiration to create and even inspire others with their own creations.
Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
If boys can do it,
Girls can too
Not surprisingly, the girls already have Pinterest accounts, the boys… not so much. The DT room is actually a workshop, not stereotypically the place to find teenage girls, however Mr Anthony Conlon (Head of Creative Arts and technology) explains that the boy: girl ratio is just about equal. In fact after an hour spent analyzing different works by students he admits that the girls actually ‘bring it’ just as much of the boys do.
Looking at some of the wood and metal work, it’s hard to believe that this stuff was made right here ‘by a bunch of kids’. Excellent finishing, innovative designs, stuff you would pay good money for. The DIY concept is still very new in Kenya, in part due to availability of cheap labour. Mr Conlon explains that DIY is not just about making stuff on your own because you can’t afford to pay somebody. It has a lot to do with innovation and the love of creativity.
So is this a glorified DIY class? Not when you realize how instrumental it is in the future careers of the students who take it on. Many of the students who’ve taken DT have gone on into architecture, engineering and product development.
An hour earlier, at the prep school, the year 6 pupils are busy creating games. Their task: to create a board game and add an electrical component to it. This is baffling to some of us who at that age (in a different time and under a very different curriculum) our technical knowledge was little more than knowing how to cover books.
Cutting, Sawing, gluing, this is the little league DT, but it is the beginning of understanding how things work and better yet, making things work! Technical subjects like woodwork have stereotypically been categorized as ‘for boys’ in Kenya and have mainly been offered in boys schools. Home science naturally is ‘for girls’. With time, this will change.
On that note, Food Technology is also part of DT and one would be happy to know that the boys, do just as well as the girls. Turi life presents equal opportunities to both boys and girls. In the end the men and women who go through the school make a mark in their respective fields not because of what they are but because of their effort.
P:S Given the current rise of empowerment movements across the globe, we are glad to be bringing forth boys and girls who will create opportunities for all especially those who are disadvantaged.