Under the patronage of the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, Fairgreen aims to engage one million students in the process of scaling up solar power to every school
In line with the UAE Vision 2021 to create and maintain a sustainable environment and infrastructure as well as achieve a perfect balance between economic and social development, Fairgreen International School in Dubai launched the third edition of the Million Solar Stars Junior Sprint event under the patronage of the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE).
Taking place on February 27, 2020, the event brought students together to design, build, and race model solar cars and boats as part of an international initiative aiming to engage one million students in the process of scaling up solar power at 100% of schools around the world.
In partnership with ENGIE, a global energy provider and a leader on the energy transition, the Million Solar Stars Junior Sprint kicked off with opening remarks from His Highness Dr. Abdulaziz bin Ali bin Rashid Al Nuaimi (aka The Green Sheikh).
The event highlighted the important role education plays in involving students in the sustainability conversation early on, enabling them and fostering their talents to shape a more sustainable future.
Florence Fontani, EVP Strategy, Communications & CSR of ENGIE Middle East, South & Central Asia and Turkey, said, “As a global leader in the energy sector, ENGIE has taken up the challenge of an affordable clean energy transition in line with the Sustainable Development Goals. We are proud to be the sponsor of the Million Solar Stars event with the next generation of solar champions, and are very happy to see that there are many girls among them, confirming the trend that more girls are pursuing STEM! As the Middle East’s ‘Positive Energy Partner’, we will continue to support such initiatives alongside regional sustainability champions such as Fairgreen International and The Sustainable City.”
During the event, students competed for Best Solar Design, in addition to other awards and a job-shadowing opportunity with MOCCAE. Amongst the attendees and judges was Fatima Al Habshi, Sustainability Engineer at MOCCAE, Dolores Shelleh, the first Arab woman to scale Mount Everest, Stephen Ritz, world-renowned educator, and social media influencer Khalid Al Ameri.
In her speech at the event, Aisha Al Souqi, Environmental Researcher at MOCCAE, said, “Today, innovations piloted by youth help deliver efficient and real solutions to key sustainability problems. MOCCAE actively supports youth engagement in driving sustainable development in the UAE. In this context, we are delighted to announce that the Ministry is offering the opportunity for five students to join its job-shadowing program.”
She added, “We applaud Fairgreen International School for launching the third edition of the Million Solar Stars Junior Sprint. The event demonstrates that the world has embraced innovation as the most effective tool in tackling climate challenges, and realized that youth is the backbone of the environmental sustainability movement.”
Commenting on his participation, Khalid Al Ameri said, “Educating the world on the importance of clean energy is an essential step forward in creating a more sustainable future. It is only in inspiring and empowering the young minds of today that we can ensure a better tomorrow. I am honored and excited to take part in Fairgreen International School’s Million Solar Stars event that highlights the importance of this and pushes forward the idea of solar education and student leadership not only in this school, nor this country, but all across the world.”
Fairgreen’s Science Teacher Adam Hall, who leads the Million Solar Stars program, has been working closely with the students this year to design and build a mobile PV unit and solar models to demonstrate solar power. Adam believes that, “While students enjoy trying to build the fastest, most interesting, and best-crafted solar-powered vehicle, their participation in the program also helps them develop teamwork and problem-solving skills, learn about the positive environmental solutions solar energy offers, and practice STEM-based engineering design processes.”
Following the event, Fairgreen International School plans to expand the program’s reach to Kenya, in which they take a group of students to bring solar reading lights to local Kenyan children and help educate them on the importance of sustainable resources. Additionally, Fairgreen will hold a ceremony commemorating the naming of one of its buildings after Dr. Jane Goodall, the foremost ecological preservationist whose Roots & Shoots Million Tree Project was the inspiration for the Million Solar Stars program.
Last year, star innovators and engineers from Denver Academy (DA) in the U.S. and Fairgreen International School competed in the second International Jr. Solar Sprint Race. Much like the above, the learners designed and engineered solar model cars to race under the sun on their respective sides of the planet.