Light for Urban Slums
Mr. David Cross and his wife and came to the Philippines last 2010. They were from New Zealand together with their two boys, (aged four and two) which were born here. Their hope is to discern the movement of God in particular communities and participate with God in partnering with local people to bring about the new world of justice and peace that Jesus embodied.
They are part of Servants INC. (servantsasia.org), a missionary organisation motivated by Jesus to seek transformation among the urban poor. Servant's workers live in the communities they serve among and the following principles frame their ministry: Incarnation, community, simplicity, servant hood and wholism.
Based in Letre, Malabon which part of Brgy Tonsuya. Many people know Malabon to be flood prone but it also has many fires which devastate the dense urban poor areas. David Cross worked with community members, through the lens of Disaster Risk Reduction, to see what mitigation strategies would reduce the impact of disasters and also improve the life situation of residents. After a series of workshops the members themselves resolved to explore the benefits of solar power. Out of this came the project a member named Tahanang Maliwanag.
Their aim is to reduce the use of kerosene lamps and candles which were the main causes of house fires in the community. Solar power also offered continuation of power supply during brown outs caused by floods and fires or at peak use times.
Groups were formed with a leader designated for each group. They were kept small for easy management and because the group leader would collect repayments each week. While Servants made the initial cash outlay for the D.LIGHT D20 solar home systems each group member paid back the cost over a 4-5 month period. Power4All representatives provided an orientation and the initial disbursement of the solar units as well as great communication and helpful discounting.
Two groups have now successfully completed the program with a total of 30 homes served, most in Letre but some also in provincial areas. They conducted a review of the program and consider continuing it if the demand exists. In the future, they'd like to explore how the project could be combined with a savings project so it could become fully independent. There is also scope for entrepreneurial skills and a livelihood focus to be developed from the project.