Panglao kids start a new kind of revolution

Clean energy revolution in small amperage light rolls off from here and it is a wolf in sheep’s cloak.

An ordinary dirty energy kerosene lantern which otherwise would have given a warm flickering incandescent glow now gets a new light source: clean Light Emitting Diode (LED) powered by solar energy.

“Thanks to Liter of Light and MyShelter Foundation who taught us how to do it,” confesses Jane Heberly Bompat, Grade VI pupil at Lourdes Elementary School (LES) in Panglao.

Assembled by LES kids, the repackaged lantern would soon be among the innovations the Liter of Light and its 34 Bohol children ambassadors would be using to spread light into the country’s communities still darkened by energy poverty.

“How could we help 20 million Filipinos without access to light? Do we give them light from patented sources which is expensive and hard to repair or do we think of innovations?” asked Liter of Light and MyShelter founder Ilac Diaz.

Asked how his mission came about, Diaz was more willing to share.

It all started with one bottle, one carpenter, one inspiration and an empty liter bottle of soda.

Diaz said they had to come up with a solution in providing light to help communities wiped out by Haiyan, and Filipino bayanihan was a good concept to start with.

Liter of Light filled the PET bottle with water and bleach and stuck it in house roofs to produce refracted illumination indoors.

But for Haiyan victims, “buying was an option but shipping cost would eat up about 70 percent of our budget, we need to come up with something unique not top down imported, patented and expensive , but bottom up and local so it can be fixed,” Diaz added.

“Why import when we could just overhaul what is there?” he pointed out citing the kerosene lamps which were given to communities after the disaster.

In these areas too, kerosene lamps caused other problems: they burned children and women and houses, he noted.

“In kerosene lamps, we thought of converting it to solar powered lamps using LED,” Diaz who presided over a workshop at the Asian Cooperation Dialog (ACD) in Panglao intoned.

“We want local materials, done by local skills and fixible so the community can build and rebuild or fix it again as we go,” he excitedly narrated his soon-to-be mainstreamed clean energy.

Operating on empowering people to do more to uplift them instead of doling out, Liter of Light saw that transforming a dirty energy into sun power is most sustainable.

“The country has this south-south orientation which provides us maximum exposure to the sun,” he commented on why solar of all low cost and renewable energy sources.

The lanterns they asked children to build is 1 ampere LED mounted on a printed circuit board and getting solar energy packed in a battery inserted inside the lamp.

At the ACD, 34 children: 17 boys and 17 girls patiently showed to the representatives of the 34 country energy bloc how to build and rebuild the solar lanterns.

The ACD gathered Asian energy leaders and think-tanks to share and exchange expertise and ideas about making energy sustainable and affordable to energy deprived areas.

This is transforming a dirty energy to a clean energy solution and the government is keen in its support because solar energy is the right energy because it preserves our resources, Diaz summed. (PIA)

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