Yemeni Schoolgirls Go Solar to Energize Country

A group of high school girls in Yemen are using solar energy to light up their community.

Power outages have been frequent in the country thanks to political & social unrest of the past year, with some days of less than an hour of electricity in the capital city Sana’a. Studying in these conditions was tough, prompting Wafi Al-Rimi, 16, to lead the way in coming up with a solution.

Al-Rimi, together with her schoolmates, created solar powered appliances with the help of an entrepreneurship program offered at their government school by the non-profit INJAZ Yemen, a branch of the Colorado-based Junior Achievement Worldwide.

The students established Creative Generation, a company that develops low cost solar powered products like batteries, lanterns, and electric fans with USB chargers, which the girls sold to hotels and government offices.

“In Yemen, we have abundant sun,” said Reem Rashed, 16, part of the company’s human resources section, told Al-Monitor.

Credit: Al-Monitor

“We need to exploit solar power because it’s a favorable, free energy and it does no damage to Yemeni society,” she added.

The company has sold five of their custom umbrellas to the Movenpick Hotel in the capital city for $150 each, with plans of lowering the costs so their products become more affordable to their fellow Yemenis.

Creative Generation bagged the ‘best company of the year’ award in a regional competition for young Arab entrepreneurs organized by INJAZ Al-Arab that took place in Qatar.

The 16 girls traveled to participate in the competition after besting all the other companies in Yemen, a country where the women are expected to stay at home.

“In Yemeni society, we have customs and traditions for a girl—at a set time, that’s it, she stays at home and doesn’t go out much—but a boy is a boy, he can go in the street or anywhere. We go to school and home, and that’s it,” said Al-Rimi.

And although some parents prohibited their daughters from traveling to the event, an all-female company composed of teenagers that has forged renewable energy solutions in a country such as Yemen is an unbelievable achievement.

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