Wednesday, April 27, 2016

CBTL, My Shelter Foundation, and Advocates Celebrate Earth Day by Giving the Gift of Light

Having electricity has become a normal thing for many of us. Maybe, we even take for granted the lights we have at home -- unless there's a power outage and we couldn't function well in the dark.

solar lamps are very helpful in isolated areas not reached by electric power lines
Whenever I see TV documentaries showing children diligently studying under the light of a candle or lampara, I feel my heart break. They don't deserve to experience that kind of inconvenience especially when there's a solution to the problem.

So I was really, really glad to know about the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf (CBTL) activity to celebrate Earth Day which, through its Caring Cup program, supports the United Nations' goal for sustainable development on affordable and clean energy. 

tools of advocacy
A great number of communities in the Philippines still have no electricity in their homes despite it being one of the most basic necessities for decent living conditions. CBTL responds to this need by giving the Gift of Light through its partnership with My Shelter Foundation for its Liter of Light project to give solar powered lamps to underprivileged school children of the Dumagat tribe

The Liter of Light (or Isang Litrong Liwanag) project is an initiative that brings solar lamps to communities that still don't have electricity. Normally, families would use kerosene lamps to light up their homes because it is very cheap. Unfortunately, this source of light lets out toxic smoke that's harmful to health. 

assembling a solar lamp circuit
Through innovation, the Liter of Light project was able to convert kerosene lamps into a medium that does not emit harmful fumes by combining a simple circuit, LED bulbs, solar panel, and battery. Last April 23, my husband and I joined dozens of children's welfare and environment advocates in an educational and inspiring activity that I am sure inspired everyone who attended, especially the kids, to help those who are in need.    

For P950, I was given a kit and taught to how to build a solar lamp. I have to admit it was a high learning curve for me as it was my very first time to hold a soldering iron and see up close how lead is melted to fuse the tiny parts of a circuit. I was so grateful for the assistance of the friendly My Shelter Foundation volunteers who guided me on how to properly do the assembly.

melting lead using a soldering iron
I couldn't help but give a big grin when they tested my circuit and the LED lights turned on! What made the activity more meaningful were the postcards that CBTL had us write our messages to. They also took our photos, printed it out, and asked us to attach to each of our lamps so the recipients would be able to "meet" their donors. It was such a joyful feeling to know that in my own little way, I would be able to help one family bring light into their home :)

my personalized gift of light
The Dumagats are a community in Gabaldon, one of the most isolated villages in the Nueva Ecija Province. Nomadic in nature, the tribe has continued to live their simple day-to-day lives without electricity. Even with roughly 60 families living around the village center and others scattered around the mountain range, the Dumagats live far apart from each other, making it difficult to provide a centralized supply of electricity. That is why a workable solution to this problem is to provide each family with a solar lamp that can provide light to each household in order to assist with their sustainable livelihood of luya and gabi plantations. 

happy advocates
I am staying tuned to the update when the solar lamps are finally delivered to the Dumagat tribe. I am sure the smiles from the children and their families would be priceless. I also hope CBTL could stage more activities like these so more can share their time and resources as well as enjoy the sense of fulfillment that comes from being a light to others.

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