Many households, especially the marginalized Mangyan communities living in farflung areas of Mindoro do not have access to electricity. Thus, they function with limited or no power supply. Since most of them are upland farmers, they are forced to either complete all their errands before sundown and be in complete darkness or resort to spending extra amount of money from already limited incomes on batteries, candles or kerosene gas for lamps. Many households with school children are unable to engage in studies and answering their modules during night time.
Keep Hope Alive (KHA) in partnership with Sikat Solar Challenge Foundation Inc and Power4All, distributed solar kits to the vulnerable Mangyan communities who do not have access to electricity. For this purpose, 38 solar home kits were shipped to Mansalay and Bulalacao, Oriental Mindoro. Each kit is equipped with a solar panel, 2 bulbs and 1 battery pack. These solar home kits were distributed to 31 communities and villages. With the abundance of sun in these upland Mangyan communities, these solar kits are great alternatives for household lighting.
During a meeting held with the community leaders, it was mentioned that the household beneficiaries would discontinue using expensive candles/torch or kerosene oil lamps, both of which are fire hazards. This would also save a lot of money, which would otherwise be spent on kerosene gas, candles and battery-powered flashlights.
It was also identified that school children spent more time engaging in school activities such as answering modules and reading exercises. The safety of the family had also improved as compared to previous alternatives the community had been using (oil lamps, torch and candles).
The solar home kits also assist bayï or women to engage in household chores at night including weaving and handicrafts making for their livelihood. According to Mona Bago, a mother from Sitio Tagaytay , “This solar lamp is very useful for my family and neighbors as it provides more light than kerosene lamps which helps me in doing my chores at home and task as Barangay Health Worker (BHW)”. The kit is also used for charging mobile phones and radios used by the community leaders and members. The solar home kits also benefited the upland Mangyan schools as some of the solar bulbs were placed at the common areas where school activities and community meetings are being conducted.
We want to thank POWER 4 ALL for donating solar home kits. It's amazing that these simple energy source can make a change in people’s lives in the mountains.