Glenda – healthcare worker – Samar Island, Philippines
Glenda Borja’s one-year-old son turned cold, his lips blue from lack of oxygen. Feeling helpless, she stroked his tiny body, wheezing for air, and prayed that this asthma attack would not be his last.
As the village’s one public health worker, she knows respiratory illness in a way her neighbors do not. 60% of the town will suffer from asthma at one point in their lives. Two children in her village have died of asthma since she began her job in 2003. Parents frequently call for her when their own children suffer an attack. Although kerosene fumes can trigger asthma and worsen attacks, when the attack occurs at night, she cannot provide treatment without lighting the lamp.
When asked if she wants electricity in her home, she laughs. “My ultimate dream!” she says. Electricity costs 7,000 pesos to install, and has a minimum monthly service charge of 500 pesos. Compare that to the 300 pesos ($6US) she gets paid per month for her work. With five children to feed, she conducts her job in the evenings, allowing her to farm crops during the day.
For Glenda, a solar light is a special treat. For the first time, she can see at night without risking her health. She provides light to her family, and her patients, in a clean and safe environment.