It all began when my friend told me about Intel Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF). I was determined to invent something for the betterment of the future. I had been noticing the deaths of people due to heatstroke and cancers, earthquakes and the increasing rate of global warming. I decided to make something that would help plant trees in the inaccessible areas, and made a “Grow green bow and arrow”.
There are many areas in Pakistan that are uncultivated and are free, especially in the mountains; I decided to target those areas. This idea of bow and arrow had negligible cost and could save lives of many. I gave an abstract about this idea to my teacher of chemistry, Ms Saman Ali.
Next, my teacher and I filled the registration form and submitted it. Soon we got an email stating that my project had been selected for the second round. I was overwhelmed by this. Now the actual work began! I did all the research work and could have been unable to do it without Ms Saman’s help. Later, we got an email saying that the fair would be held on November 1.
I went to the forest department in Malir Cantt. The government official there gave me information that I could never have figured out on my own. I was now all prepared for provincial level. Because of the situation in the city, the fair was postponed to November 2.
I was excited and a bit scared as well! I arrived at the destination at 7:30 am and within a few minutes my teacher was there. She motivated me. The first judge came at 10:30 am. He asked me several questions and I answered them confidently. The judge was impressed! The competition was extremely tough and everyone was praying for their projects to be qualified. My neighbour was quite friendly and there was interaction between all the participants that came from all over the province.
At 11:00 am came another judge. He was also impressed by my idea and he told me that it was a simple idea and the cost factor was negligible. He also told me that I explained the concept well and he wished me well.
After the judgement round, certificates of participation were distributed, but the results were not announced. They told us that the position holders and the qualifiers will be informed via message or email.
Early morning, on November 3, Ms Saman messaged me and told me I was the grand winner and best of category. I could not believe it! Ms Saman then messaged me to pick up the certificates and medals from Syeda Khadija Bashir, Country Fair Director, Intel ISEF affiliated with Shaukat Khanum National Science and Engineering Fair Pakistan.
Overall, my experience was amazing and I learned a lot. I hope to make my school, parents and my country proud on the international level as well.
Miraal Sheikh is a 14-year-old ninth grader in The Mama Parsi Girls’ School, Karachi