with a family that just received solar lighting
Jacqueline Lee is an InTheField Traveler with GlobalGiving who is visiting our partners’ projects throughout Southeast Asia. Her “Postcard” from the visit in Cambodia:
Bright and early March 8 I departed with Yejj to a floating village in Phat Sanday. We met with Yejj staff and Live&Learn Staff to install solar lighting to 10 families who have neither access to electricity nor running water. We also would be training 2 entrepreneurs to begin selling the solar packs to these villages.
We departed by boat and soon I found myself floating among homes, floating markets, and even floating pig farms. Houses along the river ranged from solid wood structures, to boat homes, and then there were the homes made of straw that barely had roofs and appeared to be sturdy enough to barely withstand a strong wind.
The first stop was the Live&Learn office. Live&Learn is the local organization that supports these communities. Instead of creating new relationships and wasting resources, Yejj identifies impact-creating local organizations already working within the communities and supports the technology gaps such as a need for renewable energy: solar lighting in this instance. I learned all about the work of Live&Learn as well as its relationship with Yejj and the villages.
Next stop – visiting the school that received its first library as well as Yejj solar lights. The school-teacher said that now he can offer more tutoring and after school classes for students wanting to study more math and English after the sun goes down, which before was impossible. Sun down meant shut down. The library also has now become a resource for the community at night allowing members to come after a full day of fishing or working to read letters, congregate, and for kids to come read and study since they too spend the whole day, if not in class, then supporting their families with work. When we returned that night, kids were gathered in the library reading not only for themselves but out loud with others gathered around listening to the stories.
Following this we went to install solar lights for the families.These 10 families were identified as the poorest of the poor in these communities. It was incredible to be able to experience first hand the impact of what the lights are providing for these communities. It is hard to describe the joy and appreciation each family expressed during and after the process. One family even mentioned they hoped their kids could use the lights at night to study more, and every family continuously thanked us. The solar packs were easy to assemble and allowed mobility (since these families tend to move around a lot).
Finally, we met with the entrepreneurs to begin training on how the packs work, how to identify price, what the process will look like, and go over next steps. One of them explained to me why he was so excited about this system. He walked me over to his back room and showed a wall of cables and controls that were part of an older solar panel system for electricity – it was impractical, confusing, and unfeasible in these communiteis.Yejj’s solar packs were easy to use and practical for the needs of these villages.
Yejj was identifying and addressing a need in this community as well as provided a thorough background on its organization, staff, current projects, and future goals.
For more details and pictures about my visit please visit: JacquelineInTheField
Yejj staff training how to use the solar packs