A group of 12 Latina teens from San Fernando High School in Southern California have invented a solar-powered tent that has insulated fabric, solar panels, a safety locking system and even includes a UV sanitizing system.
This tent is sure to be the envy of camping enthusiasts everywhere, but it wasn’t invented for folks that camp out in the elements for fun. It was invented for those who don’t have the means to live anywhere other than on the streets: the homeless.
This group of caring student engineers is the only all-female team out of 15 teams to be awarded a Lemelson-MIT InvenTeam Grant from the Massachusettes Institute of Technology to develop their invention. The grants are awarded to teams 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.”
Homelessness, the real-world problem the girls chose to find a solution to, hits close to home because last year, the San Fernando Valley saw a rise in the homeless population. The tent was created to serve this population in particular. “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,” says 12th-grader and team member Maggie Mejia.
What’s next for these socially conscious teenage inventors? They would like to head to Cambridge, Mass. in June to present their invention at EurekaFest with all the other InvenTeams, but money is an issue. The girls come from low-income families that can’t afford the cost of the trip. They’re not giving up, though and are determined to raise the funds they need to head to Boston.
They need to raise a minimum of $15,000 to get themselves to Boston. You can help by donating to their GoFundMe page here.
Find out more about the all-female high school engineering team here.