As the youngest of 14 recipients of British Columbia’s 2020 Medal of Good Citizenship, Fawzan was recognized for his work in using 3D Printing to create 3D Printed Assistive Devices for people with physical disabilities.
Avid technology enthusiast is an understatement to describe Fawzan Hussain, one of fourteen recipients of British Columbia’s 2020 Medal of Good Citizenship. As the youngest of fourteen recipients, Fawzan was recognized for his work in using 3D Printing to create 3D Printed Assistive Devices for people with physical disabilities. Since the start of the pandemic, Fawzan has successfully 3D Printed and delivered over 1,545 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) devices to over 30 organizations across the province.
Born and raised in Surrey, Fawzan is currently a first-year engineering student at the University of Victoria. He fell in love with engineering, given its problem-solving approach that allows the usage of different technologies to test ideas and design a solution. Growing up, Fawzan participated in many science fairs and eventually found himself interested in 3D Printing.
In 2017, Neil Squire Society’s Makers Making Change Program put out a call for help regarding their 3D Printing initiative. Fawzan became eagerly interested and began exploring how he could use his technical skills to print 3D Printed Assistive Devices for this cause. Volunteering with the organization over the past few years, he has 3D Printed devices that help people with physical disabilities in various profound ways, from gripping a pen to opening a water bottle.
Continuing to hone his technical skills, in 2019, Fawzan participated in the MILSET Expo-Sciences International 2019 in Abu Dhabi, UAE. At this STEM exhibition, he presented his Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) Communication System to other young scientists from across the globe and represented Canada in the closing ceremonies.
When the pandemic was officially declared in March 2020, Fawzan was in Grade 12, at the cusp of graduation. Fawzan recalls that it was an extremely anxious and scary time, as he had no idea what graduation or university life would look like. He accounts, “By talking with family, I realized there was a large shortage of PPE devices such as face shields, elevator rings, and ear savers. I reached out to my teachers and principals at school, and they offered to let me borrow the school’s 3D Printers to 3D-print PPE at home.”
With grants from the Government of Canada and TakingITGlobal, Fawzan was able to purchase 3D Printing filament. Before he knew it, the message spread on social media, and Fawzan went on to donate devices to various hospitals, senior centers, restaurants, schools, and businesses in the community. Having received an overwhelming amount of positive feedback, Fawzan feels joy in helping protect the community and finds himself hopeful for the future. Of course, 3D Printing itself comes with obstacles. An evolving field, 3D Printing entails creating a design and exporting it into a program that provides instructions to a 3D Printer. When Fawzan first started, he spent endless hours exploring different documentation and YouTube videos to enhance his craft and troubleshoot issues, such as the filament getting stuck. However, Fawzan was always motivated to keep going, “I love seeing the different 3D Prints in action. Moreover, seeing someone open a water bottle or grip a pen for the first time makes me feel happy. It is so rewarding to know a device I made can be used by someone in need.”
Helping others is not a newfound passion of Fawzan’s. Since childhood, he has been instilled with such values, seeing his family giving back to the community. In the future, he hopes to become a software engineer and continue using his skills to make a difference in the community.
In terms of his choice to pursue engineering, Fawzan explains that it was a mix of passion and parents. Throughout school, Fawzan’s parents gently pushed him towards the subject area by introducing him to different technologies, signing him up for related programs, and encouraging summer camps. Fawzan can still remember walking into these summer camps and working with various projects and people. These activities and involvement gave rise to curiosity in Fawzan, ultimately developing in him a keen fascination for engineering.
As he pursues his studies in the COVID era, Fawzan shares, “It seems that every part of the house is turning into a classroom. My room turned into a lecture hall, and the kitchen became a physics lab.” Amidst school, continuing his extracurriculars is undoubtedly a balancing act. As things pile up, Fawzan is sure to use calendars and scheduling tools to keep himself on track while also finding time to spend with his family.
In his talk at TEDx Bear Creek Park 2021 about how youth are changing the world, the 18-year-old innovator references his efforts as a testament that youth have the technologies, communication skills, innovative ideas, creativity, inspiration, and drive to create change. Evidently, Fawzan is a role model to the rest of the community, and his work extends beyond just good citizenship. It serves as a beacon of hope, reflecting how technologies can be a catalyst for positive change, with our youth holding the torch to bridge gaps and bring together global communities.
Three tips that Fawsan urges his peers to keep in mind:
1 Do not be afraid to reach out and ask for help.
2 It is okay to fail, but it is crucial to learn from your failures.
3 Youth have the power to make a positive difference.