Saturday, February 26, 2011

February ‘11 Newsletter

The new Chona classrooms - finished!

In the spring of 2010, GlobalLight Projects informed our Zambian development partner, Matantala, that we were prepared to install a solar electric system on the main school building in Chona. We had just enough money for Thomas to fly there, purchase the equipment and install it all on the 3 room block housing the principal’s office. When he arrived in late August, he found a new, much larger building under construction. Building material had been supplied through Matantala and the local community was responsible to provide the labour.

Progress was leisurely until Thomas actually arrived - the walls were not all up yet. As well, the new building has 9 rooms so it was bigger than our budget. But Matantala helped with some of the installation costs and the community got busy, working day and night with the help of a generator (something of a first for rural Africa) and on the final day of Thomas’ stay, he threw the switch, the lights came on for the first time in the Chona school and everyone celebrated. Subsequently the building was plastered and painted. Not only is the new school building beautiful, it is a game-changer: rural schools can have modern amenities and educational tools.

Since September, we have had several meetings where we reported to our supporters and those who contributed on what we have done. We wanted to be sure that everyone knew that we actually accomplished at least the first part of our vision of using simple technology to improve the lives of people in the developing world. Many of the people who contributed to our first project, upon hearing the report, have given again to the next phase. That is so encouraging! Others have been interested, too. You can listen to an interview of Thomas and Doug on ZambiaBlog Talk Radio (an audio stream - there is an ad and then a minute of music before the interview). Or, you can read a brief report in the Lambton College paper (where Thomas is studying alternative energy).

We are also pleased to announce that Thomas has been appointed by the Mayor of London to the Mayor’s Sustainable Energy Council. Although we did not foresee that our passion and expertise would be sought here, we are excited about the opportunity to contribute and make new friends and contacts. Meanwhile, we are planning the next phase for the Chona school, looking for educational software with which to train the Chona teachers and raising funds. There are a couple of exciting things in the works, which we hope to announce soon.

Again we want to thank you for your interest and support. If you would like us to come to share our experience in installing the Chona project, we would be happy to do so. If you would like to help us do the next phase of electrification at the Chona school, you can donate online.
If you have  a question or comment Contact us.

Your GlobalLIght Projects Team
Thomas, Wayde, Peter, Marilyn & Doug
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exists to help the people in the developing world by applications of simple technology