Yeshiva Sha’arei Zion High School for Girls competed in an intense day of problem solving, coding, engineering, and marketing challenges at the CIJE Tech’s annual Hackathon. The competition challenged students to plan a solution to address a problem faced by poverty-stricken villages in Africa. The girls chose to focus on water supply and created two distinct companies: Water Waze and UV Clean.

Freshman contestants created UV Clean, a company that would create UV clean stations near water supplies to purify water, while sophomore students created the company Water Waze that would transport water from clean water sources via rovers or drones to people’s homes using GPS technology.

The girls built and coded their first prototype and presented it to the audience. They, as well, created a brand and logo for marketing. The girls explained why their product could help the lives of people in need. Students remarked about how this program challenged them to think deeply about others and appreciate their lives, which are filled with such privilege.

Leanna Kataev, the spokesperson for Team Water Waze, remarked, “I take my morning routine for granted. I use water to brush my teeth, wash my face, and make a cup of coffee. There are teenage girls in this world who need to trek hours and carry real weight just to bring home water to their families.”

Reena Suionov echoed that sentiment, adding, “The day gave me an opportunity to appreciate what I have and the power of my friends. Each of us contributed differently to the team. Some of us worked on the marketing and message, while others worked on the engineering and prototyping.”

Captain Naomi Mordukhayev remarked, “I learned how important it was to strategize about what role everyone should play on the team. We truly harnessed each other’s strengths to work together.” Reena chimed in, “It’s amazing what we were able to create as a team in six hours of focused work!”

Daniela Ibragimov shared, “We may have left the school building, but we certainly spent the day learning! We were challenged to think on our feet, research a problem, plan for solutions, and work on public speaking. This was real life learning.”