The Rotary Club of Hickory, in a partnership with the Rotary Club of Arden, the Rotary Club of Asheville-Biltmore, The Light Foundation and the Rotary Club of Bayonnais-Gonaives (Haiti), is undertaking a project to place 1,000 solar lamps in the homes of students in the Bayonnais area of Haiti. A school of 2,000 students is operated by OFCB (Organization of the Christian Force of Bayonnais) in the mountain area of Bayonnais about 100 miles north of Port au Prince, Haiti’s capital. The area is home to tens of thousands of residents, struggling for daily survival, most trying to support their families with subsistence farming. Educational opportunities are limited, and the OFCB school is a light of hope for the entire region.
A student’s life in Bayonnais is filled with hardship. There are no roads in the area, so commuting to school is a matter of following rocky footpaths through the mountains and valleys. Some students walk two hours to school. The homes are typically of primitive stone construction with dirt floors. There is no electricity or running water, and cooking is done over a charcoal fire. Some homes have a kerosene lantern, the result of which may be burns, fire and noxious fumes. A student has no way of studying or reading during non-daylight hours.
The Light Foundation was founded in to address “energy poverty” by bringing light to refugee camps and undeveloped areas of the world where there is no electricity. The Foundation has had success with SunBell, a solar lamp developed by a Norwegian company. The battery for the lamp is fully charged in three hours of sunlight. It has three levels of illumination, and the fully charged battery provides 4.5 hours of light at the brightest level and 135 hours at the lowest level.
The budget for this project is $35,000 that covers purchase of the lamps from the manufacturer, shipment to Haiti, local transportation and distribution expenses. Individuals, businesses, churches, civic clubs and foundations are invited to participate in this project with the hope that the lamps can be distributed in early 2019.
Contributions to this project can be made to Rotary Club of Hickory Charitable Foundation, Box 2628, Hickory, NC 28603. The Foundation is a 501(c)3 organization.