(MENAFN - Editorial) Sharjah-based cancer charity Friends of Cancer Patients (FOCP) launched the second edition of its annual Ana-vation School Championship at the University City Hall recently to raise awareness on paediatric cancers among the UAE youth.
The four-month championship features 150 students, aged 11 and above, from fifteen participating schools, who will gather in teams to use Ana-vation’s DIY robotic kits to create devices that tackle the seven major symptoms of paediatric cancers.
This year, FOCP will select and train three teachers from each participating school to become accredited facilitators of Ana-vation’s STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) education programme, in support of the UAE’s vision of building an innovation economy. Teacher training will be pivotal to the campaign as it will enable school teachers to guide and mentor the students themselves.
“Today, Friends of Cancer Patients is delighted to launch the second edition of the Ana-vation School Championship. It is an initiative we are truly proud of; one that seeks to educate the youth and stimulate their participation in the global fight against cancer, and the results of the inaugural edition were nothing short of amazing,” said HE Sawsan Jafar, Chairperson of FOCP Board of Directors at the opening ceremony.
At the ceremony, FOCP unveiled the agenda of the championship, which emphasises creating a deeper understanding of the most common paediatric cancers—leukemia, brain and spinal cord cancers, and melanoma—and inspiring students, science teachers, doctors, researchers, and scientists to dedicate themselves to identifying, treating, and controlling the disease.
“Under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah, Founder and Royal Patron of the Friends of Cancer Patients (FOCP), and International Ambassador for the World Cancer Declaration of the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), FOCP continues to give great attention to children with cancer through its ‘Ana’ childhood cancer initiative. As we uphold our achievements from last year, we are paving the way for another 150 students from 15 schools to take up responsibility for creating a heathier and more aware future for themselves and their contemporaries,” HE Sawsan Jafar added.
Following the distribution of the DIY robotic kits this month, FOCP will train students to create service robot prototypes that can assist paediatric patients, in addition to teaching them pitching skills.
Crescent Petroleum, the first and largest private upstream company in the Middle East, is the Platinum Sponsor of the championship.
Students will receive their DIY kits and manuals between February 19-25, after which the engineering team of “Ana-vation” will keep a tab on each school’s progress via monthly supervisory visits. Based on the progress made by both students and teachers, the team will offer more training sessions. A follow-up visit in early April will be made to finalise student projects.
In mid-April, the experts will train students on professional pitching sessions and record short videos of each project with student’s ideas/project-based solutions pertaining to child cancer awareness with the incorporation of robotics.
From April 21-25, the team will receive all projects and shortlist the top 15 for Friends of Cancer Patients to review. Throughout these four months, FOCP will be monitoring progress of all schools and their projects. The champions of the second edition will be announced by FOCP on 2 May at a closing award ceremony.
Ana, an Arabic word which means ‘I’ in English, is a childhood cancer initiative that falls under Friends of Cancer Patients’ umbrella “Kashf” for early detection of cancer. Ana seeks to raise awareness about the seven common warning signs of childhood cancer and highlight the importance of early detection, as childhood cancer is the fourth most common cause of death among children under 15 years old in industrialised nations, according to World Health Organisation (WHO) statistics.
FOCP was established to help alleviate the financial and emotional burden that cancer often imposes on patients and their families, and to promote awareness about the six early detectable forms of the disease; breast cancer, cervical cancer, prostate cancer, skin cancer, testicular cancer and colorectal cancer. Since being founded in 1999, FOCP has provided support to more than 4,200 cancer patients of all ages and nationalities across the UAE.