If you walked in the John Hopkins University meeting room you would wonder why stuffed animal plushies such as a Cuban crocodile, ring tailed lemur, green sea turtle, red fox and others were sitting next to a pair of multicopter drones. Were they there waiting to greet the graduates of the Maryland Mentor-Protege Program? Well, it's not everyday that a six-year-old has an opportunity to participate in a graduation presentation. But if you have traveled from the age of 2.5 years to South Africa's Kruger National Park to help protect endangered rhinos with drones, you become an inspiration to people of all ages.
Kashmir Rose tag-teamed with Princess Aliyah, Executive Director of Kashmir World Foundation (KwF), as a mom-daughter Keynote Speech at the Girls in Technology Mentor-Protege graduation ceremony. Over 50 girls participated in this program for the last 6 months and 45 Women in Technology (WIT) Mentors have helped support this program.
Princess Aliyah shared her journey about how she was empowered by the love, exploration and challenges of her cat Cheekoh de Costa Rica and her husband Dr. Pandolfi who has always supported her to pursue her dreams. She told the girls to “do what you love, explore and experiment to become knowledgeable and then share and teach others about your passion.”
Kashmir Rose began her talk by asking for volunteers. The five volunteers were asked to hold an animal plushy. She then turned to the audience and said, "Now raise your hand if you think the giraffe is the most endangered of all the animals on display?" Some raised their hands and she silently counted. She then continued asking the audience to raise their hands as she pointed to the different animals if they thought it was the most endangered. She was quite surprised that no one thought the cheetah was the most endangered. However, she finally turned to the audience and said, "The right answer is the most endangered animal here is the ring-tailed lemur who lives on an island off the coast of Africa called, Madagascar." Everyone cheered for the right answer and many were surprised at how knowledgeable Kashmir Rose was about the different animals and how passionate she was to help save them.
Age and sex do not define the ability to make a difference, but empowering children with education, hands-on experiences and opportunities to share the ideas and views can give them the wings they need to fly towards their dreams.