Toulouse, 23 May 2016 – The Airbus Foundation and the Iranian Red Crescent Society (IRCS) unveiled a joint initiative to train thousands of Iranian teenagers aged between 12 and 14 in robotics and resilience techniques, developing their skills to respond to disasters and ensuring safer and more resilient communities for the future.

The programme, which rolled out in April in Tehran as a pilot, will include three IRCS youth centres in Tehran this year, and expand to Isfahan, Mazandaran and Golestan in 2017, followed by Fars, East Azerbaijan and Lorestan in 2018. The Foundation and the Iranian Red Crescent aim to reach more than 6,000 participants by 2018.

Andrea Debbane, Executive Director of the Airbus Foundation, said: “Resilience is a critical life skill and a major factor that contributes to shaping the endurance and achievement of individuals, industry and nations. Airbus Group has always sought to use its skills and resources to invest in and assist communities around the world, and we are confident that the partnership the Foundation is initiating with the Iranian Red Crescent Society will have a resounding success for years to come.”

The IRCS will bring its network of 400 branches in 31 provinces to bear in expanding the reach of the Airbus Little Engineer (ALE) programme among its youth members across the nation.

“It is an opportunity for the IRCS to find corporate partners willing to work committedly from the ground up, to respond to ground realities in complex environments and to take the long view and create scalable solutions,” said Dr. Masoud Habibi, Head of the IRCS Youth Organization. “We are confident that this relationship will empower and engage the youth to better care for their communities before, during and after disasters and will present a successful model to be used and replicated elsewhere.”

The collaboration agreement between the Airbus Foundation and the IRCS focusses on the popular ALE programme, an initiative dedicated to instilling an appreciation for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) among the youth in the region. The ALE programme aims to inspire and engage students through robotics and aerospace workshops and ultimately contribute to creating a sustainable stream of talent for the region.

Originally designed as a one-day aerospace workshop for teenagers, the ALE Iran programme has been expanded into a seven-week module focusing on the humanitarian needs in times of disaster. The module was developed in cooperation with the IRCS and is based on its expertise with earthquakes and other disasters in Iran.

Participants in each group will be trained in core humanitarian mission areas including establishing communications in the wake of a disaster, relief and rescue operations, managing supplies and logistics and ensuring equilibrium.

The programme operates on four levels: first, training 12- to 14-year-olds in robotics, boosting their STEM skills; second, in disaster management, improving students’ understanding of and response to risk reduction, preparedness and relief; third, building a network of engineering students to serve as mentors and trainers; and fourth, building resilience in both sets of students.

The Airbus Foundation works with more than 30 non-profit organisations all over the world, including the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to support humanitarian causes and inspire young minds to embrace science and technology for a better tomorrow. The Airbus Little Engineer programme in Iran is the latest iteration of the global partnership agreement between the IFRC and the Airbus Foundation. 

About the Airbus Foundation

The Airbus Foundation, chaired by Tom Enders, CEO of Airbus Group, includes Airbus, Airbus Helicopters and Airbus Defence and Space as founding and contributing members. It is the company’s vehicle for corporate philanthropy, using the Group’s resources, aeronautic and space products, competencies, diverse workforce and culture for driving innovation to address societal issues. In particular, the Foundation supports the global humanitarian community and inspires and prepares young people for the challenges of tomorrow. Since its launch in December 2008, the Airbus Foundation has facilitated more than 47 relief or goodwill flights to numerous destinations around the globe. More information can be found at:

About the ICRS

The Iranian Red Crescent Society is a humanitarian organization established in 1922 and acts based on the laws of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The IRCS mission includes effective contribution to protection and promotion of human dignity, improving the life of vulnerable people and those affected by disasters and crises and strengthening peace and friendship at international level. As a member of the International Federation of the Red Cross/Red Crescent Societies, the IRCS serves as an auxiliary to the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the humanitarian fields such as disaster risk reduction, promotion of humanitarian laws and values, providing rescue, relief and medical services to the most vulnerable and disaster-affected people enjoying over 2 million active members and volunteers and 50,000 active relief workers respond to domestic and international emergencies.

Press contacts 
Airbus Foundation 
Daniel Werdung+49 89 607 34275
Hania Tabet+971 50659 38 94
Mansooreh Bagheri+98 21 8820 1082




  • Airbus Little Engineer robotics programme developed in cooperation with the Iranian Red Crescent Society will reach more than 6,000 teenagers in first 3 years
  • Includes learning about the natural disaster cycle through science & technology