Free State young scientist bags gold medal at Tunisia science fair

Mia Delport, a grade 8 learner at Oranje Girls High School in the Free State has won a gold medal for her ‘good hygiene’ project at the International Festival of Engineering Science and Technology (I-FEST2) in Tunisia.

Delport participated in the fair virtually, where she presented her project, “Door mechanism to ensure good hygiene through sanitising in bathrooms”.

“Winning a gold medal amongst some very talented young scientists from all over the world, made me feel extremely proud to be South African. It proved to me that hard work and innovative ideas will indeed be acknowledged and rewarded if you persevere,” said Delport.

“It was quite daunting taking part in the fair virtually due to the huge number of entries, and I had to ensure that my project is represented in a well-structured format. The online interaction with the organisers and judges was also at times a bit challenging, but we managed to get the project presented. Their feedback was always positive and encouraging,” she said.

Delport’s self-sanitising door mechanism is an enhancement of the popular foot-operated hand sanitiser. She designed a low-cost dispensing mechanism that activates a hand sanitiser while connected to a door lock so that the door can only be opened after a person’s hands have been sanitised. This will ensure that 100% of people sanitise their hands after using a public toilet, for example.

Nthato Minyuku, Eskom Group Executive: Government and Regulatory Affairs, congratulated Mia on her achievement, and said: “Eskom Expo for Young Scientists is one of Eskom’s corporate social investment initiatives which provide learners opportunities to enhance their abilities to think creatively about sustainable solutions for current and future challenges faced by local communities in South Africa and the global community. Mia is one of such learners who has grabbed the opportunity of enhancing her creative and innovative thinking skills for sustainable solutions. These sustainable solutions can produce positive environmental change in South Africa and globally as such learners enter the workforce with creative and innovative skills”.

Eskom Expo Executive Director, Parthy Chetty, said: “Mia has made us all very proud to see a young girl competing with some of the best in the world and winning. She has a very bright future ahead of her and is a role model to all young girls in our country, proving that hard work pays off. I encourage all learners to start thinking of their Expo project now, so they can follow in the footsteps of Mia and win gold at Eskom Expo ISF2022.”

2021 will conclude with two more Eskom Expo participants who have been selected to represent the country in the BUCA International Music, Science, Engineering Energy Fair (IMSEF) in Turkey from 15 to 19 November. The announcement will be made soon.

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