Solar Trek in Siargao's hidden island of Halian

   Dana Faye Rivera

Recently, the second Solar Trek Philippines was held at Halian Island, Del Carmen, Surigao Del Norte with collaboration by GivePower, TaskUs, One Million Lights Philippines, and Power 4 All.

Halian Island is a small island barangay that is situated in the middle of the ocean that separates Siargao Island and Dinagat Island. It takes a 2-hour bumpy boat ride from the port of Del Carmen to reach the island. It has a population of about 1,100 people, whose livelihood is mostly fishing and trading in the city. This island has facilities such as a birthing facility, which is not yet equipped; a chapel where a mass is held only once a month, and an elementary school with more than 100 students from pre-school to grade 6. Due to the island's limited access to learning facilities, once a student reaches a higher grade and wants to continue their studies, they need to move to the city and live on their own.

A year ago, Halian Island was highly devasted by typhoon Odette – all their boats were washed out, houses were damaged, their livelihood stopped. But their resiliency and “ bayanihan” is what pushed them to rebuild their community

The LGU and other organizations also extend a helping hand to provide food, education, lights, and other necessities for the community. Little by little, the island was able to survive and start anew. Livelihoods are up and running; students are going to school and the people of Halian are smiling again

As far as lighting is concerned, they have a community generator that is operational daily from 6pm to 9pm, but they need to pay a certain amount to sustain the usage of the generator. Some use batteries, flashlights, and small solar home kits. There is also 1 household that has a conventional solar set-up that serves as a charging station for a fee of P15 to P25 per charge.

After months of assessments, the team figures that the elementary school needs to be energized for the learners and teachers to benefit the most. The school only uses small panels, car batteries, and inverters in case they need power for their printers, laptops, or TVs. The students cannot focus on their studies because the classroom is not well-ventilated, and the teachers cannot fully finish their deliverables due to incomplete teaching tools

Using the Mission M5100 Portable Power Station, Halian Elementary will now enjoy 24/7 free electricity. 35 LED light bulbs, 22 wall fans, and outlets for 10 classrooms have also been installed. Teachers can now easily do their tasks, and students can enjoy their studies

Big thanks to our partners from GivePower, TaskUs, and One Million Lights Philippines for another remarkable project held in the Philippines.

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