Solar panels on village roofs
Jacqueline Lee is an InTheField Traveler with GlobalGiving who is visiting our partners’ projects throughout Southeast Asia. Her “Postcard” from the visit in Thailand:
On May 28, I was able to visit the Shan village that received solar lighting from The Branch Foundation. I saw where the community is now and the impact the solar panels have made on their lives.
Walking through the unofficial refugee camp, I saw solar panels on the houses’ roofs. Iona, the Executive Director and Founder, explained that the poorest families received the panels first, then the remaining families received theirs so that the whole village has access to lighting and electricity at night. At one of the houses, we met “grandpa” – a village elder. He lost is wife, “grandma”, and lived alone. When he welcomed us into his home he shared the story he has told many visitors before about his history in Burma/Myanmar and then demonstrated the light he receives now because of the panel. I asked what he used the light for, and he replied for cooking at night. Another village elder (who says she is 90) explained she also uses the lights at night to cook. Why is this important? Because in the day community members are working which does not leave time to prepare food and/or study. By having light at night to do basic life activities, they are able to spend the daytime increasing income for the families – improving livelihoods.
The Branch Foundation was a part of the community – welcomed like a family – and because I came with TBF, I was new family too. Everywhere we went community members came out to speak with us, share news in the family (1 woman just received a new GREAT granddaughter in the family), and sit to laugh swapping stories. These solar panels have made, and are still creating, an incredible impact in the community which does not receive electricity in homes from the state since it is not an “official” refugee camp; without documents this community cannot receive services from the state but cannot return back to their home country either – a stateless community.
To learn more visit JacquelineInTheFieldBlog.
To support The Branch Foundation's: Emergency Relief Fund Southeast Asia
"Grandpa" with his solar light
Visiting a community member's home
Solar light now allows time to increase income