Self Help Africa honours Limerick pupil for study on when racism begins

Self Help Africa honours Limerick pupil for study on when racism begins

Principal of Castletroy College, Padraig Flanagan with Orna Collins and Aronnya Zakaria

FOR her BT Young Scientist project, Aronnya Zakaria wanted to see when does racism begin “because we are not born racist”.

The Castletroy College third year student’s project is called “The development of racial prejudice in children, a statistical analysis”.

Ellie Murnane, BTYS coordinator in the school, said Aronnya won a special award from Self Help Africa, sponsored by Irish Aid, for her work. Due to Covid and school closures Aronnya only received her trophy last month. Covid will also delay another prize from her Science for Development award as she won a travel bursary visit one of Self Help Africa's programmes

Aronnya wanted to see when does racism begin because we are not born racist.

Ms Murnane said: “She interviewed 51 children aged 5 to 7-years-old in Ireland and 51 children aged 5 to 7 in Bangladesh where her family are from and she still has family there. She conducted these interviews over video chat due to Covid restrictions, and also interviewed the parents of the children. She was then able to compare children from the two cultures.”

Aronnya noted that children knew not to say racist comments because they would get in trouble if they did so.

“Her desire is that children would be educated from a place of love, not fear,” said Ms Murnane. 

Fellow third year, Orna Collins, received a highly commended ribbon for her project entitled “Covidiocy an emerging phenomenon", looking at her peers response to Covid restrictions. 

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