Originally published on the blog of The Climate Reality Project.
Solar energy is not just a powerful way keep the lights on, or even to ditch dirty fossil fuels. Solar energy is empowering communities around the world — by putting people to work, helping families cook meals more safely, and allowing children to learn even after dark (just to name a few things).
Take a look at what’s happening in three different countries – South Africa, Nicaragua, and Brazil – to see just a glimpse of how pioneering thinkers have leveraged the power of the sun to improve everyday life in their communities.
1. South Africa
The Rethaka Foundation exemplifies the new breed of business now emerging in South Africa, where profit is not a driver but a result of doing good in the community.
With its Repurpose Schoolbag, Rethaka puts this ethos into action, upcycling used billboards into backpacks with solar panels and lights that already enable over 10,000 young people living off-grid to study after dark.
In the rural town of Sabana Grande, Nicaragua, a group of women known as the Solar Mothers of Totogalpa have joined with landmine survivors from the country’s civil war and farmers. Together, they’re seizing the power of solar energy to bring electricity, jobs, business opportunities, and climate-smart cooking to the community.
As a volunteer in Mozambique, Henrique Drumond learned that, “[E]ven a small gesture can cause a huge impact.” It’s a lesson he took to heart, and brought home with him to Rio de Janeiro, where he launched the social enterprise InSolar to empower residents and businesses in Rio’s Santa Marta neighborhood with affordable solar energy.
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