RAMALLAH, May 19 (JMCC) - Three Palestinian girls from the Askar Refugee Camp in Nablus have claimed the top prize at the world's preeminent science fair in the Silicon Valley.
The Intel Science and Engineering Fair, which brings 1,500 talented young people from all over the world to compete awarded top honors to the girls for inventing an electronic walking stick for the blind.
The three girls, aged 14, met with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon on Monday who lauded the girls for their extraordinary efforts.
“This is a story about brain power not fire power. You are not only helping the blind, but helping the world to see,” Mr. Ban told the girls during their meeting today at UN Headquarters.
“I am very impressed by your brilliant idea. This is the truth that I repeat every day. By empowering women, we can achieve anything in the world,” the Secretary-General added.
All three girls go to a UN-run school in a refugee camp in the occupied West Bank. They got the idea for the device when they noticed their grandparents struggling with the uneven terrain in the camp. After constructing a prototype of the walking stick they won 1st place in their school competition.
An electronic walking stick for the blind is not an entirely novel idea, but the girls engineered the stick in a way that enhances its functionality by utilizing an extra sensor that gives its user a sense of the ground they are walking on.