Calicut, also known as Kozhikode, is a coastal city in the southern Indian state of Kerala. Historically, it was significant as a spice trade center and is close to Kappad Beach, where Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama landed in 1498. 

This was our first pit stop for the #STEM4GirlsFestival2018, where we engaged  378 young girl students of different economic backgrounds from 13 schools over two days. Interacting with students from Kerala, India’s first state to achieve 100% literacy was quite a humbling experience.

The enthusiasm of the girls was really infectious and Mr. Manash Bagchi, Curator and Project Coordinator, Regional Science Centre mentioned this at the inaugural session, too. He also took the opportunity to invite all the students and teachers to  the opening of the Genomics Hall for the National Institute of Biomedical Genomics, which will be inaugurated by the Nobel laureate Harold Varmus on 11th November 2018.

The Calicut leg of the festival was inaugurated by Dr. Anitha A B, Executive Director & Principal Scientist, Centre for Water Resources Development and Management (CWRDM). It was interesting to hear her story about overcoming odds to study and work in a not-so common field of integrated river basin planning and other water related topics.

Dr. E. Jayashree from the Indian Institute of Spices Research (IISR), a multiple award-winner for her contribution in the field of agricultural engineering brought a different dimension to the event and urged the students to follow their passion. Her advice to the young ones was to be courageous and go beyond.

The girls were from various schools; Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan, Chevayur, Government Girls HSS, Balussery, Presentation HSS, Chevayur, Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan, Perumthiruthy, Calicut Girls HSS .Amrita Vidyalayam, Government Ganapath Vocational HSS, Feroke, Government HSS, Azchavattom,  St. Michels Girls High School, Providence Girls HSS, BEM Girls HSS, GVHSS Nadakkavu and St.Vincent's Colony Girls High School. 

The medium of instruction was in English and Malayalam. The girls also taught us to say Kozhikodileeku Swagatham (Welcome to Calicut), and refused to bid us farewell but said Veendumkaanaam which transliterates to see you again.