Solar Hope

One light bulb in a Guatemalan home allowed a woman to embroider longer each day, sell more beautiful textiles, and look forward to the day when her daughter would be the first member of the family to go to technical school.  Hope was born with a solar bulb!

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80% of world population is poor.  50% very poor.  In Guatemala most homes use kerosene lamps for light at a cost of $1.80-$2.00 a week.  That's a lot of money when monthly income averages $20.  Within 15 weeks the solar apparatus pays for itself and eliminates the cost of kerosene.  Providing one solar light bulb not only brings hope but is an act of social and eco justice!

This good news was communicated two weeks ago during the 9th annual Sustainability Conference in Southfield, Michigan, an event sponsored by Michigan Interfaith Power and Light and Lawrence Tech University where the day-long conference was held. 

"Bringing Light to Dark Places" was the intriguing title of a breakout session offered by John Barrie,  Founder and Executive Director of Appropriate Technology Collaborators.  Barrie told stories of ATC's Mayan small solar projects with irrepressible and infectious joy. If you pay a visit to APT's website at you will catch some of his enthusiasm. Or you might find yourself drawn to participate in a volunteer project among the poor in Guatemala or Nicaragua where you could "enter into full collaboration and co-creation" with the people of the area, other volunteers and the design team. On the other hand, ACT might inspire you to find another way to be part of "solutions that are culturally sensitive, environmentally responsible, and locally repairable in order to improve the quality of life and reduce adverse impacts on the environment".

                                                                                             Veronica Blake

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