North Minneapolis students make solar-powered briefcase generators to help kids in Africa

Students in north Minneapolis are working to help other students halfway across the globe. (FOX 9)

A class project at a north Minneapolis high school is empowering students to make a difference on the other side of the globe.

The group is building a device that will help provide electricity to more than 40,000 refugees in Africa using solar power channeled through a briefcase-sized pack, put together by students at Patrick Henry Senior High School.

"Go ahead and connect your batteries, make sure that the switches are both off," instructed teacher Lars Peterson.

In Mr. Peterson's engineering class at the high school, a blue box is opening students to a world of possibilities. They are building a fully operational solar power system that will bring electricity to thousands of students at a refugee camp in Kenya.

The We Share Solar devices will help kids in Africa without access to electricity. (FOX 9)

"Phones, it can charge batteries, it can charge maybe even a radio," said student Sir Charles Hubbard.

It’s called a "We Share Solar" suitcase and it has the capability to change lives.

"I hope that they have an increased awareness," explained Peterson, "of just a lot of the things that so many students in other parts of the world, who just unfortunately are not able to take for granted."

The hands-on experience is fueling student Mai Lor's interest in science, technology, engineering, and math.

Students in Lars Peterson's classroom put together the solar devices. (FOX 9)

"I think education is important, it kind of leads you to do whatever you want to do," said Lor.

"I wouldn’t have thought that I could do this, being able to build a solar panel at school and send it overseas to help other people in need," said Hubbard.

"It's fun to collaborate with the students and hear them present ideas on how this can be used in unique and innovative ways that creates an energy around the content," added Peterson.

Students are working with nearly $8,000 worth of equipment and Wells Fargo is funding the entire project.