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How a Group of Teenagers Invented a Solar-Powered Tent for the Homeless

Sara Rice, Social Media Intern, Consumer Technology Association (CTA)

A group of teenage girls from San Fernando, CA, noticed a disturbing trend in their community. Homelessness was increasing rapidly, and the girls wanted to help in a meaningful way. With no money to give, they designed and created a solar-powered tent that can roll up into a backpack.

Most of the girls had no engineering experience, and many came from low-income families. With the help of a grant from MIT, YouTube tutorials and guidance from local nonprofit DIYGirls (which teaches STEM to girls from low-income communities), the group was able to accomplish their goal. The girls worked on the project for a year, including holiday breaks and weekends. Their hard work paid off and the team presented their invention at an MIT conference.

The group hopes their invention can be mass-produced one day to improve the lives of those experiencing homelessness. Many of them are the first in their families to attend college, and they hope their story will inspire other young women to pursue an interest in STEM subjects.