Widespread poverty is the single most important challenge facing the Philippines. About 80% of the country’s poor live in rural areas, which are located deep in the mountains and the rice fields. Most of these areas do not have electricity and depend on dangerous toxic fumes of kerosene lanterns. The major cause of poverty in these areas is a decline in productivity and profitability of farming. In addition, these areas have high illiteracy rates because children are forced to drop out of school and work in the fields. Having children around to help means more income for the family.
By giving solar-powered lights to these communities we are providing a sustainable solution to the lack of electricity. The lights will also give the children the opportunity to continue their studies at night and prevent inhalation of toxic fumes that are so potent.
Personal Stories from the Philippines:
Respiratory health is improved with solar-powered lights
A local health clinic worker tells about her life in rural Philippines. 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.
Kerosene burns harm young lives
Fourteen years ago, on the night of Christmas eve, Moreto Gianan returned from the market to find 7-year-old SonnyBoy on his back, third degree burns covering his body. SonnyBoy had discovered the family’s kerosene supply, and lit it on fire.
Fisherman is safer with solar-powered lantern
When Byron Bobila saw flames in the water, he immediately paddled toward the fire. Fishermen in eastern Samar use kerosene lamps on their boats at night. When these lamps fall over, the boats go up in flames. Byron was relieved to find the fisherman safe nearby, swimming in the ocean. Being 1 km from shore, the fisherman may have drowned if Byron were not so alert.
Mayor Ortega fights to bring light to his village
Mayor Alfredo Ortega Jr fights for the Philippines Department of Energy to bring electricity to his village. Although there is power nearby, approximately 4,000 families of Villa Cervesa remain in the dark.
Philippines Villa Cervesa Teacher struggles without electricity
Arman Lauresta teaches 36 students from inside a small, bamboo shack on the hillside. He assigns his students homework, but they often arrive at school without it. “No light,” he said, is the most common reason kids don’t complete their assignments. Although Arman feels helpless to change this, he understands. He struggles to afford the kerosene he needs himself, to correct papers and develop lesson plans after a long school day.
Partners in the field
Caritas Filipinas Foundation
Caritas Foundation is committed to:
- · Ongoing formation towards mature social consciousness;
- · Initiating and supporting sustainable development programs that uphold the integrity of the human person and of creation, and are gender and children sensitive;
- · Delivering development programs and services for the empowerment and strengthening of Basic Ecclesial Communities and other faith communities;
- · Promoting cooperation and dialogue with other cultures and faiths in pursuit of genuine justice and peace; and
- · Linking and networking with other like-minded groups: non-government organizations, people’s organizations, and government organizations.”
Rotary Club of Victoria
Rotary International is an organization of service clubs known as Rotary Clubs located all over the world. It is a secular organization open to all persons regardless of race, color, creed, gender, or political preference. There are 33,976 clubs and over 1.22 million members worldwide. The members of Rotary Clubs are known as Rotarians. The stated purpose of the organization is to bring together business and professional leaders to provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build goodwill and peace in the world.