Seventy Torres Strait Islander girls have coded a Raspberry Pi with an LED, GPS module and FM transmitter for emergency beacons to help their communities signal if brush fires become widespread, or alert people of poisonous snake and spider bites.
The initiative is being run by the Engineers Without Borders Australia (EWBA) program, a non-profit organisation that helps Torres Strait Islanders and Aboriginals learn about technology at school.
EWBA received a Google RISE Award for the program, which was created in 2010. This year, Google is putting US$1.5 million into organisations that are helping minority groups learn about technology and computer science.
“With access to hands-on CS [computer science] education, the girls of Torres Strait are preparing themselves for the digital economy, contributing to the diversity of our future’s technology, and taking concrete steps to rise above the inequities their community has faced for decades,” wrote Roxana Shirkhoda, Google’s K12/pre-university education outreach, wrote on the Official Google Blog.
Thirty-seven organisations from North America, Latin America, Europe, Middle East, Sub-Saharan Africa, Jerusalem and Australia have been awarded the cumulative grant.
EWBA is part of the RISE Partnership Award recipients and will work with Middle East Entrepreneurs of Tomorrow (MEET) to create technical workshops and foster relationships between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal girls.
EWBA will encourage up to 2000 girls across Australia to get into technology through the award grant.