Taskeen Adam

Electrical Engineer & Social Entrepreneur

When Taskeen Adam heads to the University of Cambridge on a scholarship later this year to pursue an MPhil in engineering for sustainable development, she’ll be bringing together two of her passions: her love for technological innovation and her love for community development.

Adam (24) is an electrical engineer who is on the brink of launching her brainchild – a solarpowered classroom – as part of a project she initiated and is now carrying forward with a team of like-minded individuals.

The innovation is a low cost, energy efficient, sustainable one, aimed at helping underprivileged schools in South Africa gain access to computers and a range of other educational resources.

Adam is spearheading the project under the umbrella of United 2013, an organisation of which she is a founding member as well as the head of education.

Her vision is to start rolling the project out to as many schools as possible, and the interest the idea has attracted from potential sponsors so far indicates that it is likely to happen sooner rather than later.

Adam is also an executive member of Engineers Without Borders South Africa. Her role as the organisation’s head of membership empowerment through leadership is to host think tanks that get the engineering fraternity beyond their usual confines.

“Minds are broadened to the magnitude of change that the engineering sector can effect, especially if its focus is more human and community centred,” she explains.

When she returns from Cambridge, she hopes to start up her own social enterprise providing low-cost sustainable engineering products and services to communities.

“My passion for civil society work stems from the fact that I personally know that a good education can change the course of one’s life,” she says.

“Education is the key to breaking the poverty cycle. Throughout my life, people believed in me and aided me to get to where I am today. I feel that it is my duty to give back to the community that helped me to grow.” — Fatima Asmal