Hello! We're Zartaj and Nahyan. We've been working in the STEM education industry for over a decade, creating engaging educational content and bringing space science awareness to all.
Just a little something...
In 2014 we set out on a journey that we thought was not possible. Given that the pair of us were determined to head down this impossible path, this ordeal turned into a dance of disappointments. Bringing an educational project to Pakistan was proving to be quite a daunting task. In April 2018 we decided to put our foot down and planned to host Pakistan’s first hands-on space science workshop at the British Council Karachi Library. We were headstrong, immune to failures and determined to prove ourselves. The 28th of April was the first day we, PSSEC, held our first workshop. It was a defining moment in our lives, for the future of PSSEC and the first stepping stone in this absolutely riveting escapade. Almost two years down the line PSSEC has taken us to places that we could never imagine, allowed us to meet with mavericks we would have never crossed paths with and collaborated with organisations that we could only dream of working alongside. The Pakistan Space Science Education Centre is our passion project. Zartaj’s and mine. We hope you enjoy your stay on our blog and enjoy reading about our adventures.
How did we get here?
The idea came to us from the Victorian Space Science Education Centre (VSSEC) in Melbourne, Australia. I work at VSSEC as an educator. And, have been there since April 2015. When I shared the idea with Zartaj in November 2014, I vividly remember telling her that VSSEC and space science is something that needs to be bought to Pakistan. STEM Education in Pakistan is recognised only as robotics. But, it is so much more than that! We wanted to challenge this notion of STEM education being dominated by robotics thus, we started a long campaign of revolutionising the STEM education landscape in Pakistan. Zartaj, xCo-Founder of Robotics Labs, had done it before, and she buckled herself down to do it all over again.
Caution: Bumpy road ahead
Upon hearing the idea, I could tell that Zartaj was going to come on board. It didn’t take a lot to convince her. She’s a trendsetter, a pioneer and loves to take up challenges. Being a maverick of the industry she knew that space science, a field that encapsulates most other fields, needed to be bought to Pakistan. But, the biggest challenge we would have would be to mould it for the Pakistani diaspora. Little did we know at that time, that would be the least of our worries.
We were convinced on the outset of the project that we would easily get investors on board to fund our little expedition to “Mars”. As they say, it is easier said than done. It was a task and a half. We met with school chains, investors, angel investors, venture capitalists but, nobody was ready to pull the trigger on us. Figurately, of course. Zartaj and I are both technical people and therefore marketing, sales and financials were not our friends. After four (yes, four) years of going back and forth, we decided to pull our socks up and give it a shot ourselves. It was time to bootstrap our way to the top.
So, it begins
Now, we’re in 2018. It is March and we’ve reached out to one of our really good friends and have asked him to find us a venue to conduct our free hands-on space science workshops. He connects us with the awesome team at British Council Karachi Library. They’re super welcoming and ask us to hold our workshop on the last weekend of April. Words cannot explain how excited we were. However, there was a lot to be done before we could actually hold the workshops. Arrange the material, get the printouts ready, find educators for the workshop and of course, we needed flight suits.
This is it for now. Zartaj and I will keep penning down our thoughts on our blog so do visit us again soon. I understand that this blog is a little bit unorthodox (he types while using a WordPress template) but, we have lots more to share.