Teen Girls Created Solar-Powered Tents For Homeless With No Experience

By Naima Karp Jun 26, 2017

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How’s this for a “girls can do anything” moment to teach our sisters and daughters? While most teen girls are out there experiencing their first kisses and what haircut expresses their angst best, these girls casually created solar-powered tents for the homeless with no experience.
In Southern California, there’s been an unfortunate rise in homelessness. In the san Fernando Valley alone, it experienced a rapid 36% increase this year. So 12 teens that were recruited by the nonprofit DIY Girls (an organization equipping girls who grew up in a low-income environment with the tools they need to go after opportunities in science, engineering and mathematic fields)  decided to do something about it. They didn’t have money to offer, but they had something even better - a ton of heart and hard work that paid off.
For people that doubt the self-sufficiency of women, these girls had absolutely no engineering experience, but after a year of rigorously self-teaching through online tutorials and videos, they managed to successfully create a unique solar-powered tent that can be folded into a rollaway backpack. Woah. From just search engines,Youtube videos, and an insane amount of dedication, they made it happen.
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The tent is unique in that it is the first to be equipped with two USB ports, a micro-USB port, and button-powered lights. When rolled, the girls describe it as a “big blue sun” and we’re surprised by how seamless the final result looks. The clear opening in the back allows sun to shine through, which charges the tents solar panels while you’re on the go.
The teens won an impressive 10k grant from a program at MIT that will allow  them to develop the invention - they presented the concept at a young mentors conference just a couple of weeks ago, on June 16. Before being recruited by DIY girls’ executive director, the girls didn’t know each other well, but bonded fast.
The more ladies in STEM that can come together and support each other, the better, so we’re all for more groups like this coming out of the shadows and uniting. Currently, the National Science Board shows us that only 29% of the STEM workforce represented by women. We need to do at least 20% better to show our little girls that the goals of being an astronaut or a pageant queen are equally attainable. Out of that 29%, only 6% are Latina. The bravery and ambition of these young ladies that have flourished despite their community’s disadvantages - and that’s something we can use to inspire ourselves to be better, every day, and to stop making excuses.
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