High school engineer girls develop solar power tent for the homeless

High school engineer girls develop solar power tent for the homeless. I came across this positive story that I wanted to share with my readers and I think it is real girl power story. I am a middle-aged man and often speak negatively about the younger generations, but stories like this remind me that there are a lot of good kids out there trying to make the world a better place.

A group of 12 junior and senior girls from San Fernando High School in California that witness homelessness on a daily basis wanted to do something to help. They came themselves from lower-income families and had no extra money to give, but they wanted to do something that was more than just money and could really make a difference in a homeless person life. 

Their idea was to make a solar powered tent for homeless people. The tent was to be small portable and include solar panels to charge smart devices and for minimum lighting with additional security and features. The girls are part of a nonprofit organization called DIY Girls that aims to inspire girls to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and math.

High school engineer girls develop solar power tent for the homeless

High school Girls develop Solar Power Tent for the Homeless

Solar power tent that is made with insulated fabric with button-powered UVC lights, USB ports, a sanitizing device, and a safety locking system

They came up with a solar power tent that has an insulated fabric with button-powered UVC lights, USB ports, a sanitizing device and a safety locking system. Considering homeless people are often transient they designed the tent to be mobile and easy to move, it compactly folds up to be worn as a backpack or to pull along like luggage with the attached wheels.

They considered the weather in California and wanted a tent that provided cooling when hot and to keep warm on colder nights. That also wanted the fabric to be more durable than a typical nylon tent.


The twelve girls had no sewing, coding or soldering experience, but that was not going to stop them.

Solar power tent for homeless

The team was promoted by a $10,000 Lemelson-MIT InvenTeam Grant, one of 15 awarded to teams of young inventors around the country. The grants are intended to encourage solutions to real-world problems using technology.

With no prior knowledge and a desire to make a difference the girls watched Youtube videos about solar panels and and taught themselves how to make them function properly. They 3D printed components and learned how to sew. The girls developed their own inspirational hashtag: #wegetitdone.”

The grants the team won only covered the invention of the tent that involved countless hours, prototypes, and learning new skills. The team hopes that features on websites such as Mashable and an appearance on the Ryan Seacrests’s radio show will eventually lead to the tent being mass produced and get the tents out to people that need them.

The solar panels provide charge for phones, a timed LED light and sanitation devices

High school engineer girls develop solar power tent for the homeless

Sanitation devices

The students are well aware of the 36% increase in homelessness in their hometown of San Fernando Valley in 2016. “How many people are actually trying to help them [the homeless] or make them feel better? Letting them know that people still care about them, and they are still human,” said Daniela Orozco, a senior at San Fernando High School.

“It’s not about us. It’s not about what we do or how great we can be. It’s what we can do to make this world a better place for these people, a better place for everyone,” said senior Maggie Mejia.

The team received a $10,000 grant from MIT, which gave them the opportunity to present their invention at EurekaFest, a convention put on each year at MIT that showcases the work of young inventors. At first, they did not have enough money to attend, and a GoFundMe was set up and raised the $15,000 required to get the team to MIT.

Real girl power


High school engineer girls develop solar power tent for the homeless



Another great thing that has happened with this story is they have inspired other young girls that would usually shy away from engineering or science to pursue careers. I think why most women stay away from engineering is that it is dealing with cold objects and numbers.

Women are social driven, and if they can make a difference socially with their inventions, It would be a great motivator for more women to get into engineering and sciences and realize that engineering is not only about math, science and numbers. It's about identifying a problem finding a solution and helping people. 

If you are intersted in donating or helping out or if you know of someone that these organizations will help check out the links below.


High school engineer girls develop solar power tent for the homeless

DIY Girls has reached over 2000 girls in Los Angeles since 2012.

DIY (“Do-It-Yourself”) Girls’ mission is to increase girls’ interest and success in technology, engineering and making through innovative educational experiences and mentor relationships. We're a supportive community for girls driven by an interest in creating and building with technology. Go to DIY Girls if you would like to help, donate or volunteer. 


Lemelson-MIT InvenTeam Grant

If you are or know a smart young person that is intersted check out Lemelson-MIT InvenTeams. Apply Now.

Inspiring a new generation of inventors

Lemelson-MIT InvenTeams are comprised of high school students, educators, and mentors that receive up to $10,000 each to invent technological solutions to real-world problems of their own choosing. STEM educators from the continental U.S., Alaska, Hawaii, and territories of the U.S. may apply. 


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References for this post: 

  • https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/entry/these-high-school-girls-invented-a-solar-powered-shelter-for-the-homeless_us_58ee89d1e4b0da2ff85dcc83
  • https://www.diygirls.org/
  • https://cleantechnica.com/2017/04/13/high-school-girls-develop-solar-powered-tent-homeless/
  • https://www.npr.org/sections/alltechconsidered/2017/06/22/533909715/all-girls-teen-engineering-team-create-a-solar-powered-tent-for-homeless-people


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