Donations in Africa: Light for Four Countries with Low Electrification Rates
Panasonic made its first donations to Haiti through a public donation program in 2017. The recipient organization, the Haiti Committee of Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Arlington, Virginia, in the United States, has provided support to a rural area in Haiti for the last 20 years. Below is a report from Dr. Mary Susan Carlson of that organization. We can see that solar lanterns are a playing a valuable role in areas without electricity.
Hello, I am Sue Carlson, Chair of the Haiti Committee at Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Arlington, Virginia, USA. Our church has been twinned with St. Joseph parish in rural Medor, Haiti for twenty years. Together the two churches work to sustainably improve education, health, the environment and community development in the Medor area, regardless of religious affiliation.
Haiti is a small island country in the Caribbean Sea, southwest of Cuba, and is bordered by the Dominican Republic to its east. It has a population of about 10 million people. In recent years it has been impacted by natural disasters including a devastating earthquake in 2010 and Hurricane Mathew in 2016.
Due in part to such conditions, Haiti struggles with serious poverty. St. Joseph parish, spread over 74 square miles, has no running water, sewage system, electrical grid, postal system or roads. One must walk about 10 kilometers over mountain paths to get there.
The Medor community has several solar panels that supply electricity to the church, secondary school computer lab, rectory, convent and the parish clinic. However, there is no other power source. The students in the area value Panasonic's solar lanterns. The lanterns allow them to study in the dark.
Currently, Panasonic's solar lanterns are being used in the community's 5 elementary schools, one middle school, the student dormitory, two clinics, and for multiple community activities.
In Haiti, in order to go to university, 13th grade high school students must pass a national examination that has a very low pass rate. Knowing that education is critical for personal and community improvement, the Medor students are highly motivated to study. For the past several years the dormitory students had been requesting solar lights so they can study at night. Now the dormitory has four of Panasonic's solar lanterns. The students are grateful.
Solar lanterns are also used for agro-forestry activities at community tree nurseries. The leader at once of the nurseries said that the solar lanterns are a great help to volunteers when they work before daybreak or after dark.
Many people told us how useful the lanterns are. Solar lanterns can have a positive impact in the lives of people living in rural off-grid villages in Haiti. Thank you so much.