Kenyan youth inspired by Chinese astronauts to pursue space science


Kenyan youth said Wednesday that they felt inspired to pursue space science as a vocation, after a fruitful exchange with Chinese astronauts.

The youth who participated at the award ceremony for the “My Dream” painting competition, held at the University of Nairobi, Kenya’s oldest university, said their enthusiasm for space technology is growing.

Co-hosted by the secretariat of the Chinese Follow-up Committee of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), the China Manned Space Engineering Office, and Chinese missions in Africa, the painting competition was launched in March, to foster Sino-African partnership in space exploration.

The painting competition received more than 2,000 artworks from 42 African countries, including Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire, Mali, Cameroon, Chad, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe.

Fifty paintings that were submitted by Kenyan youth aligned with the quest for enhanced cooperation with China to promote space science, and harness it to revitalize diverse fields like medicine, agriculture, and advanced manufacturing.

Melissa Wanjala, a 13-year-old student at an international primary school based in Kenya’s coastal county of Kilifi, was the recipient of the second prize for her work titled “Agricultural Space.”

In her opening remarks, Wanjala said that her painting was inspired by the desire for humanity to utilize outer space for agricultural purposes, and tackle hunger and poverty.

“I am a fan of space and astronauts. I took two days to do the painting. Am excited and happy for winning the competition. I imagine the space like lots of crops, us living on different planets,” Wanjala remarked, adding that she looked forward to exploring outer space when she grew up.

Hansnick Omondi, a 23-year-old Chinese language major at the University of Nairobi, noted that local youth are determined to improve their knowledge of space science, adding that Chinese astronauts are better placed to provide mentorship in that field.

Omondi said that he looked forward to revitalizing China-Kenya cooperation in space technology, to help address pressing challenges like diseases, climate change, and hunger.

“If we cooperate with China, we can know more about the space and maybe we Kenyans can make a rocket to go to space,” Omondi said.

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