MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Inside a Patrick Henry High School classroom, making solar power is the subject. But the broader lesson they’re learning is about giving the world a helping hand.

“There are 840-million people worldwide who just don’t have access to electricity,” explains STEM instructor, Lars Peterson.

So Peterson’s students are doing something about it. They are participating in a partnership with Wells Fargo in a project called, We Share Solar. The curriculum helps schools around the country teach electrical engineering principles while making solar suitcases for places in need.

“It really is about making connections, it really is in a literal sense,” Peterson adds.

What Patrick Henry students are building will help bring electricity to students in the Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya.

“They can have lights at night and children can stay and learn while it’s dark and they don’t have to go outside all the time,” said sophomore, Silas Chitpasong-Zimmerman.

That’s because currently, there is no electricity in the camp so learning is limited.

“They go to like gas stations to have light to do their homework,” Chitpasong-Zimmerman adds.

Building each small suitcase teaches students in the class the basic principles of electricity. To Patrick Henry junior, Fue Vang, it’s a lesson much larger than just science and math.

“With this it can be beneficial and helpful for the people who are in dire need of electricity,” says Vang.

Giving these students a hand in global change — by shining light on a barrier of darkness.

Eleven high schools in Minnesota are participating in the project and will send 26 suitcases to Kenya in early 2020.

For more information click here.

Bill Hudson

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