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Image of project launch - February 2019 


Peer mentor Ivana discussing robot components

Tech Genius Program

Young Help Suriname launched the Tech Genius program in 2019 with 11 trainee students and 6 peer Mentors (all ages 16-24).


What experience or knowledge is needed to participate ?Trainees are not required to have any prior experience with robotics or programming. The sessions starts with the basics. What is needed to gain optimal skills is a high doses of interest, commitment and readiness to follow instructions and learn under mentorship.


What age do students need to be to sign up?
Between 13 and 18 for trainees and between 18-45 for mentors.

Who are mentors ?
Mentors are students and team managers who have represented Suriname at the international Robotics challenges outside Suriname. Because of their personal experience in training locally and participating in a global level competition, they are able to bring a unique personal perspective and rich component into the training sessions. Mentors are the 'trainers'.

Students are guided by trainee mentors, peer mentors, senior mentors, lead mentors and the team manager.

Who are Lead Mentors ?
Lead mentors are students who have competed in more than one international Challenge and who have mentored teams locally in more than 3 training programs. They have the experience to prepare a team for global level competition !

Lead Mentors hold the main responsibility for either the Technical Engineering and/or Software Engineering part of the robotics training. They also lead the mentor team by engaging them in the mentoring process through delegated tasks. Lead mentors work in close collaboration with the Team Manager.

Who is the Team Manager and Lead of the entire Team and program ?
The Robotics Team manager is the end responsible person and in charge of the program. Since the start of the Robotics training there has been 1 robotics team manager, Ms. Ashna Mahepal. She is also the founder of YHS.

What topics are covered during training ?
The training is based on the curriculum successfully implemented by YHS from 2017 through 2023.

Trainees learn: robot design, PDCA cycle, robot parts (mechanical, electrical and programmable units), robot assembly, trouble shooting, robot wiring, coding and robot operation.

What is the goals of Tech Genius ?
The goal of the Tech Genius program is to empower and inspire science and technology leadership and innovation in young people of Suriname mainly through hands-on  STEM application via robotics.

Students who complete Tech genius are also eligible to be recruited for training for FIRST Global Challenge.

What robot equipment is used ?

The robot kits used are those exclusive to the Olympic style FIRST Global Challenge.


What is the role of Foundation Young Help Suriname ? YHS is the initiator and implementor of the Tech Genius 2019 Program. YHS is also the organization in charge of recruiting, training and selecting students for the annual FIRST Global Challenge.


Who are the supporters of Tech Genius ? 
The 1st cohort received support from the U.S. Department of State via the U.S. Embassy Paramaribo. The local State Oil company (Staatsolie) and the local Telecommunications company (Telesur) supported with training facilities. YHS seeks sponsors for each new cohort recruited.

Browse the website for more info on the FGC: 2017 and 2018 and 2019  and other.


Since 2017 Suriname has been participating in the FIRST Global Challenge.

In 2017  in Washington DC , in 2018 in Mexico City, in 2019 in the United Arab Emirates, in 2022 in Switzerland and in 2023 in Singapore. During Covid the participation continued and was virtually.

In 2017 Suriname was ranked nr. 49 on the list of 163 teams from 157 countries. Landing in the top 50 was a result of hard work and dedication of a team of three young students (Ayan Jhagroe, Shayant Sital and Ivana Codrington) with no prior robotics experience.

In 2018 the Suriname Robotics team, comprisng of 3 new students (Lesly Uiterloo, Joel Naarendorp and Seth Tjokrodimedjo) ranked in the list of 53 robotics with most accumulated points (above 6000 pnts), meaning 'effective designs'. Noteworthily is that team 2017 peer mentored team 2018 under the lead mentor's guidance.

STEM Education - Robotics in Powakka - Suriname



The students received their certificates signed by mrs. Karen Willams, US Ambassador
to Suriname in Paramaribo and the founder of Foundation YHS, Ashna Mahepal.


Tech Genius 2023 


Tech Genius Program Supporters 


Tech Genius Peer mentors and Logistics Coordinator

Team manager with Tech Genius Teammembers

2019 Lead mentor with  Peer mentor Lesley


Logistics 2019 - Shivani Jhagroe


Logistics 2023 - Braston Uiterloo


Project Manager/Mentor - Ashna Mahepal

2019 Lead Mentor - Daniel Lachman 

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