Schools in Energy Poverty – Our Challenge!
Hey Everybody! I want to describe an incredible experience that we had in the town of Cruz Chicita in Honduras. This experience is leading us to a fantastic opportunity to make a huge difference in the lives of the children of Honduras and Nicaragua.
As we were installing solar electricity to several of the homes in the village, we heard from the teacher of the school, Anny Medina, that the school didn’t have lights or electricity. Now we were a little surprised that a school wouldn’t have electricity so we checked it out. The name of the school is Escuela Republica de Brasil, and there are a total of 16 students that attend this school from Kindergarten to Sixth Grade.
First thing we did was to go take a look. School wasn’t in session, so we asked some of the people of the village to let us in to check it out. Below is a picture of our helper getting us into the school.
We took our measurements and found that we would need about 6 lights to cover the entire schoolroom, which is two solar kits with 3 wired up lights each. Trisha got busy and contacted the teacher, who took the bus all the way from the nearby city where she lives to meet us at the school. We got a chance to talk with Anny and found out that she travels to the village and lives with a family there for the week and travels home for the weekend to be with her daughter. She was an inspirational teacher, who really cares for the children. Make sure to watch the video with her in the Stories section of our website.
One of the issues that she has is that she has a small laptop and cellphone and cannot use it because of the lack of electricity in the schoolhouse. So we decided to wire up another kit with a 150W inverter to charge her laptop and cellphone. Now I don’t know about you guys, but I was inspired and my mind was racing with ways that we can improve this situation and other similar ones around the country.
Here is a picture that Trisha took with the children around the teacher’s desk with her new kit to charge her laptop and computer.
Now Trisha and Kelly didn’t just stop there (I knew they wouldn’t). They went to meet with the local superintendent of schools for the area. You know what they found; a total of 33 schools in the area that do not have electricity! The superintendent of schools heard about the project at Cruz Chicita and discussed how we could help alleviate the energy poverty and improve educational outcomes in each school in her district.
Guys, we at BTLP see this as a call to action and we will be planning on correcting this next year. We plan on raising funds to provide larger solar systems for each of the schools (and upgrading Anny’s to the larger system). In addition to this, we will be providing laptops and palm projectors to each of the teachers so they can teach using the latest curriculum. Trisha will be working with the superintendent of schools in this area to organize the curriculum and we will figure out how we can provide that content to each of the classrooms. We must ensure that these kids will have access to a great education and lights to see it. We have also discussed this program in our villages in Nicaragua, and Pastor Domingo has said that he has at least 10 schools in his area without access to electricity. Remember that these are just two areas. Let’s challenge ourselves for these kids, and use it as a model to improve the education opportunities to all of the children who are living in energy poverty.
Again, thanks to all of our supporters for their kind words and donations. Let’s get inspired and do this! - Jim