US Teenagers Build Solar Suitcases for Kenyan Villages 

  • A collage image of students from the Hopkins West Junior High, Minnesota testing the 'We Share Solar' system (LEFT) and the 'We Share Solar' suitcase (RIGHT)
    A collage image of students from the Hopkins West Junior High, Minnesota testing the 'We Share Solar' system (LEFT) and the 'We Share Solar' suitcase (RIGHT).
    CBS News
  • Over 60 students from Hopkins West Junior High, Minnesota built 9 solar-powered suitcases targeting Kenyan villages that are not powered with electricity.

    During an interview on CBS News on Saturday, April 30, the teenagers revealed that the suitcases contained bulbs that would help students study during the night.

    One solar-powered suitcase system can power three to four classrooms. The system is also detachable and can be stored in suitcases for security.

    An image of Irina Kornberg
    An image of Irina Kornberg
    LinkedIn

    The project was initially started by Irina Kornberg who raised over Ksh2.3 million during fundraising to purchase the solar suitcases.

    She later shared ideas for the 'We Share Solar' project with the students who decided to undertake it as a class project. Kornberg added that the suitcases will be distributed across the country depending on the most affected areas

    “In Kenya, the sun sets at 6 pm. So you can imagine that after it gets dark, the school children cannot do their homework.

    "Other school activities such as council meetings cannot take place because it is dark," she stated.

    On her part, Emily Todd, a seventh-grade student detailed that they were also benefiting from the project as they do their research on solar energy.

    She added that the project would help conserve energy and in the end also support climate change initiatives.

    “If we collected all the energy that the sun was emitting down to us for a day, it would supply the world for a year. Today we made switches for solar suitcases that we’re sending to Kenya,”,” she stated.

    The 'We Share Solar' project has already earned the teenagers international recognition with various media outlets giving them coverage.

    The students hope to raise more funds that will enable the build of more suitcases for students across Africa.

    In his speech during the release of KCSE examination results on April 23, 2022, Education Cabinet Secretary Prof George Magoha stated that the government was working hard to improve the connectivity of institutions.

    "Support for digital infrastructure to support digital learning. This has been extended by ensuring increased connectivity of schools to electricity from various sources, expanded internet connectivity, investment in digital devices, investment in digital learning content; and capacity building of teachers on digital learning," noted Prof Magoha.

    Kenya Power workers repair a transformer on the Meru-Makutano road on March 28, 2016.
    Kenya Power workers repair a transformer on the Meru-Makutano road on March 28, 2016.
    File
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