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Eleven Twin Cities area schools and after-school programs have signed on for a STEM education program during the 2019-20 school year.

The School of Environmental Studies in Apple Valley and Eagle Ridge Middle School in Savage are among the schools and programs participating in We Share Solar, a national program that empowers students to be global changemakers by combining solar energy and engineering education with real-world application.

Students will build portable, 12-volt DC We Share Solar Suitcases that will bring electricity to more than 40,000 students at schools at Kakuma Refugee Camp in the northwestern region of Kenya. The Twin Cities program is fully funded by Wells Fargo.

In a two-day workshop at the Wells Fargo Connections Center in Minneapolis on July 24-25, teachers from the Minnesota cohort of schools and volunteers from Wells Fargo were trained to assist students in building about 120 We Share Solar Suitcases, an activity which will take place at each school this fall. The suitcases are powerful enough to illuminate two to three classrooms and charge devices such as mobile phones or tablets.

Once the Solar Suitcases are built, they will be sent to Kakuma Refugee Camp in northwestern Kenya and are expected to benefit over 40,000 students and teachers at schools that lack electricity. The delivery and installation process will be captured through video, photos and stories.

In April 2020, the stories will be shared with the students who built the Solar Suitcases, so they can experience firsthand the impact of their efforts.

Launched in 2013, We Share Solar is the educational program from We Care Solar, a nonprofit organization located in Berkeley, California, that is dedicated to bringing light and power to maternal health clinics and education facilities in the developing world through the deployment of Solar Suitcases, according to a news release.

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