How are you all today? Are you making it a great one? Well, you’re not the only ones. Thousands of miles from our corporate office in Norwalk, CT, high in the mountains of Nicaragua, a hardworking community of subsistence farmers is making strides towards creating a brighter, more hopeful future for themselves and their young children. And the way they’ve been able to do that is completely thanks to you.
That’s right: you. Simply by choosing Viridian, all of our customers, Associates and corporate team members are an active, vital part of a fundamental, ongoing ripple effect of change that’s transforming lives around the world.
I’ve been physically present to meet some of those people and witness that transformation, in Portrero Platanal and all the other remote communities we’ve journeyed to as part of our 7C7Y global sustainability initiative. But as breathtaking as it is to be there in person when off-grid families receive light and other vital services for the first time, it’s deeply heartening and moving to realize what a difference those improvements will make in the days, months and years to come. When it comes right down to it, that’s the heart and soul of our business, and why we’ve recently expanded our global outreach through our Light the World program.
That’s why it gives me such pleasure today to share the very happy news we’ve recently received from GRID Alternatives, our project partners in Portrero Platanal, Nicaragua. Here is what they wrote:
“Thanks to your support we successfully installed all 40 solar home systems in Platanal for the project that started with your volunteers in 2015. All of the systems are still up and running today. As you may recall, our residential installations with Viridian in Nicaragua were the first time we provided individual families with light in their homes. I’m glad to let you know that we’ve expanded our program in Nicaragua to provide solar to more rural households.
“As you remember, Viridian volunteers built wooden boxes to protect and store the solar battery and wiring for each home. Going forward, we will be storing them in sturdy toolboxes, for even better safety and durability. None of this would have happened without Viridian’s initiative and effort, and for that we are very grateful. So it gives me pleasure to share some of the impact your solar project has had on the people of Platanal:
A few families have started or expanded small businesses. For example:
- Sergio Oporta’s family and another family have started small barber shops, providing income for the families and a service for the community.
- Doña Fatima Oporta Solarzano was able to start a small cake-making business. Before electricity, she would have had to do all the mixing by hand. Now she can use an electric mixer, which saves enough time to allow her to carry out her daily household duties as well. She is also taking a Pinata-making class to expand her offerings.
- Hernaldo Gonzales’s family already had a business making cheese to sell in the nearby town. Thanks to their new electricity, this family is able to work at night in the kitchen, increasing their productivity.
Plus, thanks to solar power, all of the families are saving about $4.13 a month on the kerosene they used to use to light their homes. [Editor’s note: apart from being costly, kerosene was a major cause of indoor air pollution in Platanal.] They are investing their savings in their businesses and farms, and using them on things like phone credits that keep them connected to the outside world.
What’s more, the light has improved the community’s quality of life and connectivity, allowing for evening gatherings, shared televisions and radios, evening homework hours and more.”
How’s that for making a difference—a difference that will last? Let’s remember that every day we have the power to change the world.
Watch the videos from this trip or read more about our 2015 solar project in Platanal here.
Cami Boehme – I am Generation V!