12 Teenage Girls Create Solar Powered Homes

solar panel under blue sky

Homeless, the word simply means not having a home. There are as many as 150 million people across the globe who are homeless and invisible. Their invisibility comes from not having an address. No address when asked for one and no address to stay in. Just imagine if in all those official documents, papers of citizenship, ID proof etc you did not have an address, a very important box left empty. But being homeless is not just about not having an address but essentially no place to call your home. 

If you are thinking why homelessness is being discussed as a major problem when more serious problems like global warming, climate change, crashing economies, unemployment and a vast variety of other issues are grabbing our attention, you have all the right to think that way. But there is something you need to know. There has been a huge girl- driven breakthrough when it comes to solving or rather taking very innovative steps to reduce the number of homeless and invisible people inhabiting this planet.

A new kind of homes have been invented by teenage girls hailing from the San Fernando Valley in Southern California. In a time where most teenage girls are saddled with the idea of making social media their true pal and throwing temper tantrums, these 12 girls have taken up the mammoth task to find perhaps one of the most creative solutions to countering homelessness. Together these young ladies have created a solar-powered tent that can be rolled into a bag pack. (Talk about always carrying your home with you and never getting homesick!)

These high school girls took this project when they were recruited by the DIY (“Do-It-Yourself”) Girls.   The mission of this LA-based non -profit is to increase girl’s interest and success in technology, engineering through innovative educational experiences and mentor relationships. The efforts of these Latina girls were supervised by the Executive Director of DIY Girls, Evelyn Gomez.

What compelled these young girls to work on such an idea was the homelessness they had witnessed in their communities. In an interview to Mashable, Maggie Mejia one of the girl’s parts of the project stated that because they live in the San Fernando Valley, they have seen the problem increasing and if their parents fail to pay an X amount of bills, they themselves might fall into homelessness. This very statement shows why it is said that necessity is the mother of invention.

Apart from taking the world by storm with this new invention what is really impressive is that none of these students have an engineering background. They relied heavily on Google and YouTube. From sewing, coding, 3D printing and everything else that could be required to execute this idea, was a google away for them. Other than solving the homeless crisis in their locality these girls wanted to make a difference. They did not only want to give something back to their community, but they also wanted to add value. “We wanted to offer something besides money,” said Veronica Gonzalez, another active participant in the project.

The yearlong toil of the team was well rewarded, as the girls won a $10,000 grant from the Lemelson-MIT Program, and got the opportunity to present their invention at MIT’s Eureka Fest. Coming from low-income families themselves, the girls almost didn’t make the trip, but thanks to a GoFundMe campaign they raised over $18k in donations making the trip a reality for them.

One can only hope that with support from MIT and their well-wishers from across the globe, these solar-powered tents could be used as feasible homes and they expand their presence beyond the San Fernando Valley very soon and homeless people can carry something on their backs, their actual homes.

The spirit and efforts of these students are a testimony to the fact that every girl gang is capable beyond belief. Harnessing the power of existing technology and blending it with the willingness to solve problems enables us to find direct solutions to even the biggest of problems.  One problem,12 girls, one non-profit, Google and YouTube, many times all you need to take off something exciting and revolutionary is right within your, you just need to look harder.

- Maitreyi Mehndiratta

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12 Teenage Girls Create Solar Powered Homes 12 Teenage Girls Create Solar Powered Homes Reviewed by EMN on July 21, 2019 Rating: 5

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