This summer's 11 Whitman High School (Bethesda, MD) student interns came to Buyobo in late June to continue work on the new school classrooms and to oversee the installation of solar power in the building. The power was supplied by Barefoot Power, a social enterprise that focuses on providing affordable lighting to populations without access to electricity. Barefoot Power came to the village and made a presentation on their solar lighting product and installation plan. The village was excited to watch the installation, which was funded by generous donations though Global Giving and by the Women's Microfinance Initiative. Solar lighting allows the building to be lit at night enabling teachers and parents to tutor their children after dinner. While they were in the village, the student summer interns prepped their new friends for the national examinations. The system is working perfectly and students, parents and teachers are all inspired by the new lighting system.
In addition to the tutoring, the interns renovated other school buildings, helped the WMI borrowers learn to use computers, led a Grassroots Soccer program and learned about village life. Noah Martin, one of the interns, summed up the trip as follows: The whole trip has been an amazing experience. The most important experience to me was the fact that no matter what we do we are creating jobs. Its amazing that the simple task of painting a wall or building a gate gives so many people the ability to work and it brings in so many people to help to get it done. This trip was largely seen as a life experience for me. While we are only here for a couple of weeks we are truly able to see a completely different lifestyle and that is a completely priceless experience.
Tali Stopak-Mathis, one of the trip chaperones, added: "The Whitman students have been awesome- integrating themselves into the life of the community and school, embracing the life here and bringing lots of fun in everything they do!"
Thanks to everyone who supported the solar lighting project!
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