Many of you have seen the news reports about the devastating earthquake that has recently befallen Haiti. The destruction to homes, businesses and infrastructure is overwhelming but the loss of human life is even more staggering and upsetting. Seeing and hearing the news reports makes everyone take note, but after the initial wave of reports and a rush of aid from the United States, the Red Cross and other relief organizations, the news story can become “yesterdays news”. But, for the people of Haiti, this is not “yesterdays news” and every day becomes a struggle to get through. For many, they do not have a home to return to, all their worldly possessions are gone, children have been orphaned or parents may now be childless. Getting the basic necessities of food, water and clothing are paramount needs.
As an American Mom living in suburbia, I cannot even fathom what such an upheaval is like. I know how fortunate I am to be living here but I also know that there are things we can do to help others in dire need. Through the power of social media (facebook), one organization that I found is the Solar Liberty Foundation. It turns out that one of my friends from grade school, Paige L. Mecca, founded this wonderful non-profit and is actively working as the Executive Director. “Solar Liberty Foundation is dedicated to assisting people in rural areas of less developed nations with renewable energy resources. Our goal at Solar Liberty Foundation is to harness the power of the sun to provide people in need with solar electrification, solar water filtration, and solar cookers.” (from SLF website). The Solar Liberty Foundation works closely with Solar Liberty, a company that was founded by Paige’s brothers, Adam & Nathan Rizzo in 2003. Solar Liberty provides solar electrification systems for residential customers, businesses, non-profit groups, governments and more.
The Solar Liberty Foundation is in desperate need of donations. They are currently helping the relief efforts in Port-au-Prince Haiti and their solar electrification system will help generate power for a temporary health clinic to help those in need of medical care. Paige stated, “We just arranged a large donation with Partner’s In Health. We will be sending 20 KW of photovoltaic panels to Port-au-Prince to power their operations that they have set up at the Aristide medical school in Tabarre. We need to appeal to many for donations for the additional equipment needed to power this very large system.” Remember without power, these medical facilities are at a severe disadvantage.
Beyond the need for medical assistance, many are left without a way to cook or get clean water. The Solar Liberty Foundation is trying to help with their solar cookers. The solar cookers can sterilize water and give someone a way to cook a meal. But to pay for one solar cooker, they need to raise $100 and their goal is to be able to purchase 1000 solar cookers (that means they need to raise $100,000 in donations). As of now, 100 solar cookers are in manufacturing and are going to be sent to Haiti within the week but donations for these are still needed. The solar cookers will be delivered by a Haitian born aid worker who has just lost fifteen family members in the devastation. Even though she has suffered such a profound loss, she wants to help others in need.
Please think about making a donation to the Solar Liberty Foundation – any amount is welcomed. I hope you will join me and the efforts of Paige and her brothers to utilize solar energy to provide assistance to those in need.
Paige L. Mecca, Executive Director, Solar Liberty Foundation
by Kristin Goecke