There’s A Prince at the Gelfand Family Science Center

May 11, 2015

Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village is pleased to welcome Prince Dukundane, our new Gelfand Family Science Center Coordinator, to our dynamic team! Prince is an innovative and ambitious young man, who recently graduated from the University of Rwanda Science and Technology with a degree in Electrical Engineering. Driven by a commitment to his community and a passion for building, Prince founded the Young Makers for Rwanda club during his time in college. Young Makers for Rwanda is a club that focuses on generating solutions to local problems through the use of technology. The organization builds solutions, such as egg incubators and robots, by recycling parts from otherwise unusable machines. Young Makers for Rwanda continues making an impact as Prince has begun to teach and share his passion with the students at Agahozo-Shalom. 

The Gelfand Family Science Center at Agahozo-Shalom is comprised of three separate labs - Electronics, Computer, and a Mechanical lab. For our first and second year students (Enrichment Year and Senior 4) they spend a third of the year focusing on each individual workshop, however there is constant collaboration and support between the labs. ASYV students are currently competing through Emerging Leaders and Entrepreneurs: ELE Rwanda for the “Arts Science Prize,” which requires both artistic creativity and technical innovation to come up with a solution to the crisis of biodiversity. 

Our students are training to become innovators and entrepreneurs through hands-on, project-based learning. The Gelfand Family Science Center continues to challenge and expand their knowledge through a pedagogy called “EDGE”, which stands for Excite, Demo, Guide, and Enable.  

Prince recognizes the omnipresent role technology will have in shaping Rwanda’s future. He is training “makers,” people who will one day make ground-breaking tech advancements, but he is also training every student to become an educated consumer. “No matter what career you choose, there will always be a tech component. I am teaching our students not to be a passive consumer of technology, but to understand how it functions - that it is not just magic.” 

When asked about challenges he has faced as Science Center Coordinator, Prince explained that there will always be challenges, but instead of being deterred, those challenges should inspire people to find solutions. He spoke of how frequently students come to him with amazing ideas and innovations that the Village is unable to support because of financial restraints and lack of materials. 

The solution is never to drop your idea. I say, Let’s see how this would be done. There are lots of processes that must be fulfilled before you are able to begin developing. I encourage them to research as much as possible. Right now, we may not have enough materials, but do your research, become well prepared, and once we are able to afford materials the implementation will be easy.” 

Prince’s aspiration at ASYV is to further improve the Gelfand Family Science Center, to make it bigger, with more materials, so that every student may be able to pursue their passion in innovative “making.” 

Submitted by Shelby Sullivan, 2015 Village Fellow