Solar Lighting for 120 Displaced People in Burma

by The Branch Foundation
Vetted

We have some great news! The remote Internally Displaced Persons community of Loi Lum have managed to receive additional funding to this project and now have a solar system to light up the school and even use printers. Collectively we have brought solar light to every house and now finally the school has light too! We are emensely proud, this would not have been possible without you. Our local partners, The Shan State Development Foundation, had the following to say:

"We really appreciate your kind support in bringing light to the faces, homes and school of this remote community" 

Stay tuned as we will most likely have another solar project up soon and also hope to repeat our successful Dinners by Candle Light campaign later this year. 

With sincere gratitude,

Tom Rosen and The Branch Foundation Team.

Links:

Children studying by candlelight
Children studying by candlelight

Having successfully raised enough funds to buy solar lanterns for the residents' homes at this Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp in Shan State, Burma, we are still in the process of trying to reach our funding goal. Once we have reached our target, we will then be able to install solar panels for lighting in the camp's school and also to power computers. By doing so, it will have a significant impact on the education of the youth of this community.

If the school has light after dark, then the children can study together and evening classes can be held when necessary. This will enable them to make the most of the educational opportunities that are available to them at this current time. By providing access to computers with the use of solar energy, the students will have access to what many people take for granted. They will be able to learn how to use computer programmes such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint as well as having the ability to use the Internet. By introducing students to the wealth of knowledge available on the Internet, we are sure that their knowledge will be heightened, their horizons expanded and opportunities increased.

Mwe Hkur, an expert in the field of education for Shan youth, had the following to say about the current conditions for the students when we first started this project:

"Students at this school have never learned anything through multimedia in their life due to the lack of electricity. They normally end up studying in dark rooms with low quality textbooks."

We hope, with your help, to change this and to achieve our objective of increasing the educational standards in this remote community.

We sincerely hope you consider helping us reach our funding target by either donating again or by telling your friends and family about this project.

With gratitude,

Tom Rosen and The Branch Foundation Team

The solar lanterns arriving at the camp
The solar lanterns arriving at the camp

Links:

Children from the community walking to school
Children from the community walking to school

Firstly, The Branch Foundation team would like to wish you a happy Earth Day 2015. This is a day for us to pause and look at our impact on this precious planet which we all share. For many people across the world, renewable energy solutions are not just a choice but a necessity due to where they live. This is true for the community at Loi Lum Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp, where there is no access to the electrical grid, thus the residents used to rely on kerosene lamps and candles to light their homes.

Fortunately, with the help of generous people such as yourself, we have managed to bring clean and efficient solar lighting to each household which has since increased safety within the camp and also allowed children to study and adults to continue working into the night. However, we are still short of our goal of supplying a solar system to the community's school so that the children have enough energy to power computers. Access to information technology will not only help the kids to study for existing subjects but it will also introduce them to computing skills which are vital in today's world.

The Branch Foundation installed a solar system for a computer in a refugee camp in 2012, which enabled reliable access to this resource by both the children and adults of this community. Sai Oo, the computer teacher at the time, told us the following in an email he wrote on that same computer:

"All the people in the camp benefit from the solar powered computer. You and your supporters have helped protect the environment, save on electrical bills and support education therefore we would like to thank you very much."

We would be extremely grateful, if on this important day, you choose to help this community with your 'act of green' by either donating again or telling your friends and family about this project.

Sincerely,

Tom Rosen and The Branch Foundation Team

The remote area in Shan State, Burma
The remote area in Shan State, Burma
A solar powered computer we installed in 2012
A solar powered computer we installed in 2012
A resident studies by candlelight
A resident studies by candlelight

We are delighted to inform you that, after everyone's wonderful fundraising activities for this project, we have managed to make our first disbursement of solar lanterns to this remote Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp in Shan State, Burma. The residents of Loi Lum IDP camp have previously had to rely on expensive, dangerous and unhealthy forms of lighting such as kerosene lamps and candles in order to light their homes after sun down. Not only did this effect the health, safety, and disposable income of the community but made it difficult for the children to study and their parents to continue income generating activities at night.

Earlier this month we were excited to hear that 40 solar lanterns arrived safely at Loi Lum. These provide not only an excellent source of household light but are also capable of recharging phones. Residents can choose the level of lighting, from low to medium to bright, which enables them to maximize their control of battery life. The lanterns provide a light meter reading so that people can position the solar panels to ensure they get the most of the sunlight available.

Sai Tom, the local school principle, said the following in an email:

"I have just given the villages the solar lanterns and they are very happy with them. They would like to thank The Branch Foundation and it's supporters"

We hope to raise the remaining funds before March, at which time we plan to install the solar system for the school and to provide another 7 solar lanterns to the community. We sincerely hope that you consider donating once again to this worthwhile cause so that we can reach our funding target and, more importantly, our goal of providing cheap, safe and clean energy to this remote community.

With sincere gratitude,

Tom Rosen and The Branch Foundation Team

Each household representative receives a lantern
Each household representative receives a lantern
Your donation = A lasting difference for many
Your donation = A lasting difference for many
Charging up!
Charging up!
A meeting with Loi Lum
A meeting with Loi Lum's school principle

As this report title suggests, we are coming up to our twelfth month of fundraising in order to supply solar power to the homes and the school of Loi Lum Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp. In the past year we have tested solar lanterns in the community to find out which ones would be most suitable, received feedback from the residents in regard to their most pressing needs and maintained correspondence with the IDP camp. In recent developments, we had the pleasure of actually meeting and speaking face to face to Sai Tom - the school principle of Loi Lum who is helping us implement this project. He walked 6 hours, through dense jungle and up steep mountain slopes, to explain first hand to us the importance of solar lighting in his community.

“The residents have been waiting patiently since they tested out the last solar lanterns you brought us. They saw, from testing the device, what a difference it can make to their daily lives. The children could study after dark and the adults can continue to work on income generating activities without having to rely on expensive, dangerous and unhealthy kerosene lamps and candles”.

During this conversation, I felt the urgency in his voice. The residents of Loi Lum had been waiting approximately 10 months since they tested the solar lantern we provided them, I’m not sure whether I could maintain the same level of patience they have shown. Iona, the Executive Director of The Branch Foundation, and I knew we had to push the fundraising to a new level and become creative in our ideas to ensure that the this community in a remote region of Shan State, Burma, could once again experience the benefits of this clean, cheap and non-toxic renewable form of lighting.

We came up with the idea of ‘dinners by candlelight’ - a fundraising campaign to give our supporters and potential donors an idea of the conditions in which the residents of Loi Lum experience in their daily lives whilst also advocating the importance of the project. Lights are turned off and mobile phones ditched as people host dinners for their friends and family using only candles as lighting. We have received a huge amount of interest in this fundraising idea and have already had dinners held in the UK, USA and Thailand. We hope that the aim of this project inspires you to also host a dinner by candlelight, if so - click HERE for more information regarding this campaign. Please note that we are extending the deadline of this fundraising initiative until the end of November.

Sincerely,

Tom Rosen and The Branch Foundation Team

Current condition in which the children study
Current condition in which the children study
A
A 'dinner by candlelight' hosted in Thailand

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Organization Information

The Branch Foundation

Location: Chiang Mai - Thailand
Website: http:/​/​www.thebranchfoundation.org
Project Leader:
Tom Rosen
Project Manager
Chiang Mai, Chiang Mai Thailand

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