To Tackle Homelessness These 12 Girls Created A Solar-Powered Tent

By Mayukh Saha

Daniela Orozco recalls that homelessness in her hometown of San Fernando had not been so bad earlier. Just a high school freshman then, she remembers seeing only one homeless person on her way to school. Things worsened drastically over the following 4 years. Helping the homeless on their own was not an option, as Daniela and her friends were from low-income families themselves.

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The numbers of homeless were disturbing; they lived near her school, the park, below the off-ramps, almost everywhere. The number of homeless people in the San Fernando Valley has crossed the 8,000-mark already. The girls settled on the idea of the tent after weighing other options. It was an issue close to their hearts and their community. They had known people who lost their homes because they could not pay their bills.

See this MIT 3-D Solar Power Discovery that can Cut Your Power Bill by 65%

But they wanted to help by giving them something other than money, says Veronica Gonzalez, Daniela’s classmate. They hit upon the idea of a portable home; a solar-powered tent that could be rolled into a backpack. Along with 10 other classmates, they began their endeavor, aided by Google and YouTube. This team of 12 was brought together by Evelyn Gomez of DIY Girls, a non-profit. The girls were unacquainted but soon learned to work independently after the initial guidance from Evelyn. They even had #wegetitdone as their inspirational hashtag.

The girls learned new things like the programming language C++ to tackle the technical aspects. The tent has lights, a micro-USB port, two USB  ports, a countdown timer, and even a UVC light.

Also read: Oklahoma City Is Building A School For — And Designed By — Homeless Kids

The girls from the SFHS worked tirelessly on their invention for a year. They were encouraged by Evelyn to go after the Lemelson-MIT Program’s $10,000 grant. Aided by that in December 2016, this DIY Girls InvenTeam finally completed the invention in 2017.

For 6 days every week, the girls worked on the project, even giving up their spring and winter breaks. They destroyed the first tent they made only to check its durability. They made another one. In the process, they went on to learn valuable engineering lessons. As the grant was only for the invention, DIY Girls raised another $15,000 for their trip to MIT for EurekaFest in June 2017.

DIY Girls helps girls from low-income communities to learn math, engineering, and science. Founded in 2011 by Luz Rivas, DIY Girls started with 35 girls in 2012 and has since helped over 2000 girls between grades 4 and12 to develop skills in design and engineering. They hold workshops and work in partnership with schools helping the trained children connect with tech leaders.


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One of our favorite tools, the HotKnife! #hotknife #prototype

A post shared by DIY Girls InvenTeam (@diygirls_inventeam) on

Their success was featured by regional TV stations and even Ryan Seacrest on his morning show. The team is eager to inspire other girls to pursue STEM careers.


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#Sewing our #prototype together! #stem #hardworkingwomen #beginners

A post shared by DIY Girls InvenTeam (@diygirls_inventeam) on

Paola Valtierra and Kassandra Salazar remember being the only 2 girls in their AP Calculus class and were eager that the trend should change.

Hey! Message me. I am Mayukh. I help people and websites with content, videos, design, and social media management. I am an avid traveler and I started living as a digital nomad in Europe from 2019. I am currently working on – a creative media company. You can reach out to me anytime: Read More stories by Mayukh Saha

This article was sourced from Truth Theory.

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