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Powering Education with the Sun

Consistent access to electricity is a challenge in Haiti –

a challenge that undermines the productivity of services across the country, such as the education system. Over 75% of Haiti’s schools do not have access to electricity.

We have recently launched our Solar Project, which will transition our campus to a completely solar power source. As the project will be installed across 4 phases, one of the phases will focus on the school complex.

Transitioning to solar power will not only allow Pwoje Espwa to become energy independent, but will enhance our ability to deliver a broader range of curriculum and teaching methods in our schools.  We are excited for our plans to build a computer lab to serve our primary and secondary school students, a possibility because of the sustainability of a solar-powered campus.

 

Electricity is critical to campus operations… When one of our generators goes down, the cutoff affects all areas of campus. Water is no longer being pumped to toilets, showers, sinks, and water pumps that give community members access to clean water. Without access to running water and some kitchen appliances, the kitchen staff must work even more tirelessly to ensure meals are made on-time for the children. Communications are cut off, and administrative responsibilities are difficult to uphold.

 There are many benefits to solar power on campus and in Haiti generally:

  1. We would be free from government swings in power cost and availability due to foreign oil prices (Haiti purchases most of its oil from Venezuela). EDH, the government-run electricity provider, is known for being unreliable and sporadic in availability.
  2. After installation, solar power has a relatively low cost to operate and maintain, if designed properly.
  3. There is consistent and adequate amount of sunshine year-round in Haiti.
  4. A reliable energy source allows stable communication and business to flow freely and productively.
  5. Solar power is much less expensive overall than the combined costs of fuel, generator costs and their maintenance. Dirty fuel in Haiti clogs our jets, causing problem in all diesel engines.
  6. We have control of our power; we are not relying on the government or outside entities to restore power. Being energy independent gives us more control over our access and use and allows us to solve any power problems quickly.
  7. The cost of solar materials in country is very reasonable, currently.
  8. Solar power allows us to think consciously about our regular power consumption and engage in more power-efficient practices, such as turning off lights not in use, purchasing low-power consuming refrigerators for our kitchen, and so on.
  9. In the event of panel damage due to strong storms, as Haiti often sees during hurricane season, panel replacement is simple once materials are located.
  10. Solar technology is still increasing, and knowledge of benefits increases volume of sales, which decreases the overall cost.

 

Ultimately, spending less on fuel to run our two generators will mean these resources can be redirected to enhance programs on campus, and consistent power gives the security and stability in our schools, administrative buildings, and residential facilities.

Resident children, community students, and teachers can enter the classroom every day knowing that they will have access to the services needed to both uphold a consistent learning environment and enhance their methods of learning.

You can learn more about our Solar Project by visiting our website page here.

2 ways to contribute to provide life-giving support with Education:

Supporting our Solar Project

Supporting our Education Programs

 

Make Lent a time for faith, hope, love – and learning.


 

 

I fell in love with Espwa during my first visit last year. Hard to put into words, but there was a real "heart" connection with the kids and staff. It is a special place. My visit was focused primarily on the girls and the teachers. Relationships were initiated during that first visit that I treasure very much!

- Maria Simeone

There is hardly a more heartbreaking sight than seeing an orphan in Haiti--many of them who have families who simply cannot feed and clothe them. Of course there is the emotional response to their plight, but there is a more pragmatic hope--that given a chance in a loving, caring environment, these children can grow up to be leaders, people who can move their communities and the country itself in a positive, healthy direction.

- Jackie Wilson

This place is amazing! The kids and their caregivers will restore your faith in the human spirit. The magic of Espwa is that there is a childhood provided for the kids there that would not exist otherwise.Haiti has a very very long way to go, but this is a hopeful place with clean, well fed, happy children, teachers, house moms, and support staff. Fr Marc and all of the others should be very proud of their accomplishments. Help them in any way that you can!

- Kerri McDonough Croland
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