As some of you know, I am an enthusiastic supporter of a brilliant initiative for girls and young women in Kyrgyzstan called the Kyrgyz Space Program.
The Kyrgyz Space Program is aiming high: specifically, into space. They plan to build and launch Kyrgyzstan’s first ever satellite – and to do so with an exclusively female team. In early 2018, the Kyrgyz Space Program was launched [ru] with the support of media outlet Kloop, which continues to be a partner of the project.
Since then, the program has recruited and trained a core team of 10 young women, held masterclasses and camps, spoken at a TedX event, travelled to the UK to meet Helen Sharman, the first British astronaut and more! In January 2020, the team took delivery of the development kit they need to build their prototype. It’s a huge step forward for the team, and brings them that bit closer to being the world’s first ever all-female-constructed satellite.
Find out more about the Kyrgyz Space Program and please consider becoming a sponsor of this amazing project!
Why does Kyrgyzstan need a satellite? Well, as the team say, “why not?!” The technology and parts are more accessible and cheaper than ever before, and Kyrgyzstan would be following other countries such as Ghana, Lithuania and Mongolia that have also decided to launch their own cubesats (the smallest type of satellite).
Why should it only be built by girls/young women? Let me quote the team directly (my translation):
We’re fed up of discrimination against girls and women in Kyrgyzstan. We’re fed up that in many families, girls are being brought up as servants. We’re fed up that many girls in Kyrgyzstan are being kidnapped, raped, and then forced to live with their rapist, having to call him “husband”.
We’re also also fed up with tens of thousands of other stories of awful injustices towards women.
But what can we do in response? We wanted to create an environment in which a group of girls would make history for real. In doing so, they would overcome stereotypes and cliches and inspire other girls in Kyrgyzstan (and perhaps around the world too) to realize their most fantastic dreams.
We believe that Kyrgyzstan can become a much stronger place if its citizens – irrespective of gender, race and social origins – can create, invent and surprise the world because of our discoveries.
We want the girls who will build the first Kyrgyz satellite to become role models for all young people in our beautiful country.
If you’re still reading here, let me say this again: Find out more about the Kyrgyz Space Program and please consider becoming a sponsor of this amazing project!