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Local org teaching girls of color drone technology goes to Ghana

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Posted at 8:19 PM, Jan 05, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-05 23:19:26-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — A local program that teaches young girls about drone technology has gone global.

ABC 10News first did a story on Our Genetic Legacy's Drone Project in 2022. The program is geared toward girls of ethnic minorities interested in the STEM field.

Recently, the group took a trip to Accra, Ghana, to follow the history of the transatlantic slave trade.

"We learned so much about our history, and it was such an amazing experience," said Shyanne Smith.

Smith is one of twenty girls who went on the ten-day trip.

The group also included girls from F.A.N.C.Y, a local mentor and leadership program for girls of color.

In Ghana, the girls were able to use skills learned during the drone program to map and capture historic sites related to the transatlantic slave trade.

"I wanted to show we can take this technology, this tool, and go to Africa to include our voices in historical narratives and the voices of many that have been silenced," said Founder and CEO, Shellie Baxter.

The girls also visited museums and 'slave castles' where slaves were held before they boarded ships.

They describe the experience as eye-opening and somber but powerful.

"I felt very empowered to be a Black person because they went through all of that, and we still rose as a people," Smith said.

The group also partnered with Ghana Girl Guide to teach Ghanaian girls about drone technology.

"They saw how we put everything together and even how to configure the drone before it goes to take off," Trinity Ansley said.

The girls said bonding with the Ghanaian girls was also a highlight of the trip.

"They were showing us a hand game that they play all the time, and we were trying to figure out how to play it. It was super hard," Smith said.

In the end, the girls said they walked away with a fresh perspective on history and how technology can be used to tell it.

"I was like, wow, this is something you can really do all over the world and get girls into STEM doing something what they love, and you can make money off of it," said Nilaja Nettles, who's a member of F.A.N.C.Y.

Our Genetic Legacy partnered with F.A.N.C.Y and the Elementary Institute of Science to make the Ghana trip possible.

They'll present the data collected during the trip at the Elementary Institute of Science on Jan. 27. To attend the presentation, click here.

This year, Our Genetic Legacy is looking to take the girls to London. The non-profit is looking for corporate and private sponsors.