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Contest broadens technological horizons in Kenya

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-09-10 12:39

Jane Charity grew up in an era when patriarchy was entrenched and society expected little from women and girls despite their exceptional talent.

The mechanical engineering student from Kenyatta University knew from an early age that success would never be handed over to her on a silver plate.

To prove cynics wrong, Charity worked hard in school and scored impressive grades in science subjects that were usually the preserve of boys.

Self-driven and versatile, Charity defied negative cultural stereotypes to pursue a cream course that Kenyan girls have dreaded for decades.

Charity was among the talented Kenyan youth who participated in this year's Africa Technology Challenge sponsored by Chinese company AVIC International Holding Corp.

Charity said her participation in the technology contest widened her horizons.

"I heard about the Africa Technology Challenge from friends and decided to give it a try. My participation in this contest was a golden opportunity that I will forever cherish," Charity said.

She was among the exceptionally talented female university students who overcame great hurdles to participate in a grueling competition to assess their competence in technology and innovation.

This year's Africa Technology Challenge attracted dozens of contestants from all parts of Kenya. The final competition took place from Aug 30 to 31.

"The Africa Technology Challenge can be nerve-wracking, but has enormous rewards. The contest unlocked hidden talents in me and I am ready to pursue my dream career with renewed vigor," said Charity.

Her exemplary performance at the event secured her a scholarship to pursue a master's degree in mechanical engineering at a Chinese university.

Charity said Chinese mentors at the Africa Technology Challenge helped her better understand engineering problems.

"The Chinese tutors emphasized passion and self-motivation to enable us to succeed in our careers. I also learnt the Chinese are keen on precision. These attributes are an imperative in the engineering field," she said.

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