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Ever Built Solar Panels in Haiti? This Woman Has

More than 60 children at the Zamni Beni Orphanage in Haiti now have stable electricity thanks to NRG’s solar project. We previously reported the second phase of the project nearing completion as more volunteers from NRG and Energy Curtailment Specialists were set to leave. Since then, they were able to finish installing solar panels that will provide the orphanage with power. Now that they’re back, we were able to speak with one volunteer, Sandy Ostrom, about her experience.

Of all the ways you could help the people of Haiti, why is providing them with power so important?

Power is very expensive and very unreliable. Power outages are very common in Haiti. In some places power, electricity would cost thousands of dollars. NRG’s solar panels allow them, so they can take those monies to pay utility bills and put it towards helping, not only the children that live in the orphanage, but also the 150 Haitians it takes to provide 24 / 7 care of the children.

It will allow them to use the funds to help more children, to go and build the infrastructure. NRG has put solar panels on 20 schools and it not only allows for the kids to go for school, it allows for adult education at night.

 

What is the electricity currently like in Haiti?

Electricity is very unreliable in Haiti. We have a whole grid. They don’t really have a grid. They do have power lines for when someone wants to hook up electricity to a building, but they’ll just connect it to a wire on the street and it’s not with the electric company, so they don’t have a reliable grid.

 

How did the Haitians respond to your work?

This town was a very, very poor town. They had never had power before. They installed solar panels and they said every time they would switch on the light, people would clap. They had never had electricity in their town before.

 

How did you feel to be a part of NRG’s project?

Big business is not always known for being philanthropic.  I am very proud to be associated with a company that feels the responsibility not only to the communities that it serves, but also the responsibility to help those less fortunate throughout the world.  I loved being a part of this year’s volunteer trip to Haiti.   I would strongly encourage anyone who is interested to get involved. It is an opportunity to make a real difference in the world, and to meet some amazing people while doing it. 

David Crane, the CEO of NRG, has been involved in rebuilding Haiti since the devastating earthquake in 2010 killed more than 200,000 people and destroyed more than 250,000 homes. He has pledged 10 percent of NRG’s Global Giving Allowance to Haiti alone. Previously, he and his volunteer groups have donated their services to more than 29 projects, including solar panel installations at the Lashto Fish Farm, Bon Berger School and several health centers. He plans to continue his work with more volunteer trips in the future.

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