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"Our tent is made of special materials, where we will have solar panels, we will have LED lights, so that the person can see inside when it is dark, we will also have the factor to clean the house that are UV lights (Ultra Violet) that kill bacteria, ”Kenia Shi, a senior high school student, told EFE.
The installation of miniature solar technology in a mobile tent is a proposal by 12 Latina students from the San Fernando “Magnet” school, in Los Angeles County, with which they won a grant of $ 10,000 from the organization “Lemelson InveTeam ”from the MIT School of Engineering.
“When we were introduced to the program and they told us that we had the opportunity to make an invention that could change something in our community, we thought that making a (solar) tent was the best,” Shi recalled.
The daughter of immigrants from Santa Tecla (El Salvador), Shi will study mechanical engineering at the University of California (UC) San Diego.
2016 statistics from the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) office indicate that in Los Angeles County there are 43,000 people living in shelters or tents on the streets.
The annual count, which does not include figures for Pasadena, Glendale, and Long Beach, specifies that39% of the homeless population is Afro-descendant, 27% is Latino and 26% white.
Araceli Chávez, daughter of immigrants from Michoacán (Mexico), told Efe that "it is something very nice" to be able to say that you are helping these people that "many times the government or the public itself almost ignores."
Fifteen schools in the United States won the scholarship for creating with engineering methods, such as the “solar-powered tent” that the students will display at the “EurekaFest” exhibition on June 15-17 this year on the MIT campus.
Chávez, who has already received an acceptance letter to study programming and political engineering at Georgetown University, in Washington DC, explained that thanks to a survey carried out to understand the needs of the indigent, they learned that “they ask to be given electricity in many places. ”.
Solar panel and energy accumulator:
The students' solution is a small solar panel and a light that has an energy accumulator, transferable to other devices, among other innovations.
“We dreamed that at‘ EurekaFest ’we could find someone who would like to distribute this nationally,” said Chávez, who said they are inspired by children in extreme poverty who need light to do homework or energy to recharge donated cell phones or electronic tablets.
For her part, Flora Mendoza, director of the "Magnet" secondary school in San Fernando, told Efe that this project has given the students "the opportunity to apply what they have already learned to carry out their invention."
Evelyn Gómez, a former high school student, after graduating in aerospace engineering from MIT learned about the invention financing program and encouraged the students to participate in the company of Violeta Mardirosian, her former math teacher from San Fernando.
"With the invention, the students want the displaced people on the streets to have a little comfort, dignity and thus help improve their community", he told Efe Mardirosian.