Nagercoil girl Masha Nazeem will receive the prestigious National Youth Award for her contributions to science and technology.
The annual award is instituted by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports and is given to recognise outstanding work and achievements of youngsters and further motivate them to excel in the field on National Development and Social Service.
“I am very excited to be selected for this award,” said 24-year-old Masha, who with her father Khaja Nazeemudeen, a government employee, is all set to receive the award from Prime Minister Narendra Modi on January 12.
Hailing from Nagercoil in Kanniyakumari district Masha is the elder of two siblings. She developed a keen interest in science from the time she was nine years old.
“It all happened because of my father, he would enroll me in every possible contest in school, one of them was a science exhibition. I didn’t even know my name was on the list,” she said. Masha, then a class five student, made a burglar alarm which impressed her teachers and won her the first prize.
From then on, there was no stopping, Masha went on to invent 14 socially useful gadgets such as a flameless seal marker, which is now used by State government officials, hi-tech train toilet system, fuel dispensers, anti sinking alarm amongst others.
Three of her innovations are in the process of getting patented. She has also won several awards and accolades including the State Youth Award 2016.
To provide free hands on training to young inventors and help them turn their ideas to reality, she setup Masha Innovation Center, a research laboratory and workshop in her hometown.
“There are many students who are creative and have ideas but get stuck in only learning theory taught in schools. While theory is important, they must also be encouraged to have practical experience. This is my aim and I hope more students benefit from it,” she said.