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TechGirls Alumnae – Innovation in the midst of COVID-19

In response to the global health crisis, TechGirls alumnae have utilized their STEM and leadership skills to support their local communities. They are providing support and innovation directly to medical professionals, conducting peer education programs and serving those in need. Here are some of the many inspiring actions being taken by alumnae around the globe:

  • Shahd, Egypt, TechGirls 2019 is a high school student in Aswan. Working with a small team, she developed a low cost ventilator and went on to obtain funds for its development and approval for use in Egypt. In addition, she has developed a mobile sterilization station. 
  • Sondos, Jordan, TechGirls 2013 is a fifth-year medical student at University of Jordan. She volunteers to deliver medications to refugees in Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan (shown in the blog’s feature image).

 “I was so frustrated thinking that I had missed a great opportunity to help others when the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) April mission to the Zaatari refugee camp was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, until I found a form to volunteer with Watan to deliver medications to people in need… All of my life I have been studying diligently to give my utmost to patients and their families, to make people’s lives easier. Watan has given me the chance to do so and I couldn’t be more proud of the work I and my colleagues have achieved. We have to be one hand now, and each and every one of us has to do what they can to pass this crisis.” Sondos.

  • Sura, Jordan, TechGirls 2017 is a university student at American University of Beirut (AUB.) Sura has volunteered at the COVID 19 call center which is an initiative of Lemsic Lebanon and the Lebanese Ministry of Public Health. They receive calls from people reporting illness, and from people requesting info about the COVID-19. They also follow up with people who are home-quarantined.
  • Emily, USA, TechGirls 2019 is a high school student in Virginia. She is working with her school’s Coronavirus Visualization Team which studies COVID response policies and economic trends of various countries in order to analyze which countries were doing the best and worst during this pandemic. She presented her results in a workshop for the STEM League, a program dedicated to improving STEM education of middle and high school students.
  • Aishwarya, USA, TechGirls 2018 is collaborating with her college friends to create an app that pairs people who have extra masks with those in need of a mask. 
  • Naomi, USA, TechGirls 2019 is a high school student in Maryland. When schools closed, she started teaching online coding classes with Kindling Curiosity to address the gap of STEM class offerings for students who were working from home.
  • Xuan, USA, TechGirls 2018 is a high school student in Virginia. When her developed in-person LeadPeace conference was cancelled due to COVID-19, she launched two online programs called Lead Talks and ArtPEACE to provide leadership and peace building training.
  • Sulekha, USA, TechGirls 2019 is a high school student in California. She is working with her robotics team to 3D print masks for a medical center in her city.

“I’ve been leading my robotics team effort to 3D print N95 masks for USC’s Keck Medical Center (through an initiative by CrashSpace). We saw the need for N95 masks and thought that we could use the 3D printers we had on hand to help. We advertised through our school and city to raise money through donations and also asked for volunteers to print masks using their own 3D printers. Currently, we have raised $275 and donated 130 masks. We are continuing to raise money and print masks.” Sulekha.

  • Isabelle, USA, TechGirls 2016 is a student at Stanford University. She is creating a technological tool to support doctors’ offices seeking better ways to serve their patients while practicing social distancing.  

“I’m working on developing an automated, text-based tool to help doctors’ offices maintain a virtual queue so that patients wait in their cars until their appointment is ready — this reduces risk of infection from waiting rooms and unnecessary interactions at the doctor’s office. We’re piloting in a Hawaii clinic and plan to expand to Stanford’s hospitals this week.  For more context, I’m working on this service project with two others as part of Stanford’s Behavior Design class.” Isabelle.

  • Zaineb, Tunisia, TechGirls 2019 and Ons, Tunisia TechGirls 2017 are developing a Mobile App called Quarantine where users complete daily checklists to stay healthy. They receive notifications on the importance of washing their hands and following the safety instructions. They are also writing blogs on youth action in the midst of COVID-19 and documenting the important work they are doing. These blogs are available in Arabic, French and English to impact not only communities in Tunisia but globally. Finally, they are also preparing online coding and technology courses to keep their work in robotics and coding going in Tunisia. 

“In fact, the lockdown was an enriching period that helped us spot the needs of our community and work towards solving them. We were also fortunate to have the time to work on our personal development and to unlock new opportunities. Now, we are slowly going back to our normal life in Tunisia; therefore, we thought about creating a video that sums up the experiences that we went through as two TechGirls, mentored by a TechWomen, during the spread of COVID’19.” Zaineb & Ons

Zaineb and Ons “journey during the lockdown”
  • Natalie, Palestinian Territories, TechGirls 2019 is a high school student in Bethlehem and she made a video for to encourage her peers to stay home and stay safe.
  • Tayma, Palestinian Territories, TechGirls 2017 is a university student in Ramallah. She is part of the mental health group at the Global Shapers Ramallah Hub. She is creating Inhale Exhale which aims to improve mental health awareness around issues of anxiety and stress management. The team has been working since December, collecting data & conducting interviews with experts & psychology professors and turning it into youth-friendly content. Finding Arabic content that is friendly and professional is highly challenging and this group is bridging this gap and making mental health awareness accessible for Arabic speakers.
  • Ayah, Jordan, TechGirls 2019 is a high school student in Jordan. Working with a group of girls in her school, they made hygiene tips and health advice on the school broadcast and distributed pocket-sized hand sanitizers for her class.
  • Lina, Libya, TechGirls 2013 works for Zain in Libya as well as the National Democratic Institute. She organized online sessions for Girl Scouts on how to be productive at home and use this time to learn and explore new things.
  • Binura, Kazakhstan, TechGirls 2019 is a high school student in Kazakhstan and is part of a free food delivery project in her city. She and a group of friends have been distributing groceries to quarantined underprivileged families and to the elderly. Overall, they have been able to help 30 families who were obligated to stay home at all times during the crisis. 
  • Khayot, Uzbekistan, TechGirls 2019, is a high school student in Uzbekistan and is involved in the volunteering organization “Barakat” in Uzbekistan. During the COVID-19 crisis, she and other volunteers gather food and then give it to people in need. During these hard times, there was a flood in Syrdarya, one of the regions of Uzbekistan. People lost their houses, farms and literally everything. She and a team of people gathered food, clothes and various necessities to help them.
  • Nagiza, Uzbekistan, TechGirls 2019 is a high school student in Uzbekistan and has been helping create and donate masks in her local community. 

Thank you to all the young people around the globe who are stepping up to help your friends, families, neighbors and communities.

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