The Akshaya Patra Foundation organised Space Talk, an interactive session with the former engineer at the Kennedy Space Center for NASA, George ‘Gabe’ Gabrielle for its beneficiaries in Bengaluru, Karnataka. The session was aimed at providing children exposure to space education and opportunities and attended by 200 enthusiastic children from GHS Peenya and GHS Bagalgunte.

Gabe, former engineer at the Kennedy Space Center for NASA, visits schools to talk to students on the space programme and inspire them. In this context, his efforts are in line with Akshaya Patra’s Giving Every Dream a Chance initiative, a mentorship programme to inspire children to pursue their dreams and passion. Gabe has also served as the Director of Engineering for the US Air Force’s Special Operations Command.

In his two-hour-long session in Bengaluru, Gabe encouraged children to pursue their dreams by sharing anecdotes from his personal life and his tenure at NASA. He also spoke about life in NASA, a typical day at the International Space Station (ISS), the future of Mars exploration, among other things.

“I think children are magical, they have a great imagination and a great desire to learn. These children should get a chance to live their dreams and Akshaya Patra, through Giving Every Dream a Chance programme, is giving them this chance. I really appreciate Akshaya Patra for supporting these children,” said Gabe.

The event was held in association with the Society for Space Education and Research Development (SSERD), a Bengaluru-based NGO which aims to ignite interest in space among students through its interactive programmes on the subject. 316 Akshaya Patra beneficiaries have enrolled under SSERD programme for the academic year 2019-20 as a part of the ‘Giving Every Dream a Chance’ initiative, one of the several programmes launched by Akshaya Patra under the umbrella term National Endeavour for Student Transformation (NEST).

 

On the eve of this event, Nikhitha C., the CEO and co-founder of SSERD, said, “Two decades ago, we were introduced to computer science fundamentals at the primary schooling, because it was the start of the IT revolution and it was necessary to learn about it. Now, we at SSERD believe that every student should know about space at a basic level to be part of Space Revolution which has started. They need to understand how space is going to benefit them in their day-to-day lives, what are the different career options in Space, challenges that we are facing in space and on Earth, and how can we solve them using Space Technology.” She further added, “SSERD wishes to teach Space at school level and Akshaya Patra has been supporting us to do so through Giving Every Dream a Chance programme.”

Thanking Gabe Gabrielle for associating with the Foundation, Shri Chanchalapathi Dasa, Vice Chairman, The Akshaya Patra Foundation, said, “We are immensely grateful to Mr Gabe Gabrielle for talking to our beneficiary children, sharing his experiences, and encouraging them to pursue a career in space science. Many of these children dream of a career in space exploration. Mr Gabrielle’s words of wisdom would have inspired them in their pursuit. We are also thankful to Ms Nikhitha and SSERD for helping us nurture the dreams of our beneficiary children.”

He also thanked the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), Government of India, and the Government of Karnataka for providing Akshaya Patra the opportunity to serve the children and support their dreams.