Kasak Bather wants to reduce the child mortality rate in district Tharparkar of Sindh province in Pakistan and envisions girls’ education and their participation in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) as a hope to bring sustainable development in the country and the world.
Bather is a 13-year girl and currently studying in Grade IX in “The City School" of Nawabshah campus, Sindh province of Pakistan. Coming from Tharparkar, one of the remote districts of Sindh, Bather is concerned about the deteriorating health conditions in her areas. Greatly inspired by her grandmother, she wants to serve her community and contribute to the development of her areas and beyond. She expressed her thoughts in Islamabad on World Science Day, 2020.
During my school vacations, I often visit Chelhar, my native village that is situated in Tharparkar District. I observe issues like health, education, poverty and lack of social awareness there. I always engage in discussions with my grandmother who advises me to study hard and work for the betterment of my community.
I always help my friends whenever they come up with any problem in their studies and I love to discuss innovative ideas with my class fellows as well. Despite limited resources, I try to look for opportunities that can develop my scientific skills.
Unlike others, the COVID-19 provided her with an opportunity to utilise her time productively by participating in the five-week online training on Artificial Intelligence (AI) organized by UNESCO in partnership with its Global Education Coalition Partner the Technovation Idea Lab. The programme was aimed to equip girls to be leaders and problem-solvers. In July 2020, more than three thousand girls from six countries participated in the training programme. Bather was amongst the 466 girls who participated in the training programme from Pakistan, which helped her streamline her ideas and introduced AI to find solutions to the problems.
My research idea was to reduce the mortality rate of newly born children in my native district. My project aims to reduce the death ratio of newly born children by using emerging technology like AI.
To achieve the objective of her project, Bather designed an AI model that will automatically detect anemic or unhealthy pregnant women in Tharparkar District. This model will help in resolving the complications related to pregnancy, which has been consistently taking the lives of the women especially in the most isolated districts like Tharparkar.
Bather believes that science is an integral part of human development and thus she urges youth to focus on scientific studies. In the future, she is committed to deploying smart devices on a smaller scale in her village to help pregnant women monitor their health including their children, and in the long-run, she aims to contribute on a larger scale in achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals. As an ambitious young girl, if resources are available to her, she aspires to expand this project to all rural areas of Pakistan in the future.
I request all parents that they must end this discrimination of preferring their sons over daughters with regards to education. This COVID-19 pandemic has affected girls’ education the most who are already lagging in their education. We need to educate all children including girls to bring development and prosperity to the country.
In the end, she concluded her talk with a quote, which sums up her thoughts by Dr. Edward Teller, an American-Hungarian theoretical physicist: “The Science of Today is the Technology of Tomorrow”.