Last year, we were able to partner with Tifie Humanitarian and distribute a donation to school children in Dumi, Democratic Republic of Congo. We arrived on the scene with solar panels, buckets of paints, and a soccer ball.
It was only a few minutes before there was a soccer game started and the school was overrun with kids. Besides the soccer stars in training, we had lots of helpers to paint, clean up, build shelves and refinish desks, all which would be utilized by these kids that were in grades one through six.
And of course, we installed a solar system for the school! The local solar installer that has been trained to take care of the nearby Light A Village station had a team installing panels, battery banks and lights in the classrooms. The school uses the battery bank for a shared computer, as well as business opportunity for the teachers. The school teachers charge a small fee for children to bring in their parent’s cell phones to charge for the day. This small income helps pay for student fees and supplements the teacher’s salary, helping make them more independent through enterprise.
Whenever we think about solar projects, we try to find income generating activities as part of the project that makes sense for the project scope and village needs. The teacher’s came up with this solution themselves and it’s been working for several year now. By also hiring a local painter, we were able to support local small business and entrepreneur. TIFIE stands for Teaching Individuals and Families Independence through Enterprise, and at Goal Zero, we’re all about empowering people. Part of empowering people and having Zero Boundaries means re-thinking how we do donations, and we think we’ve expanded the possibilities of success for these children by partnering donations with income generating activities. We’ve loved watching these kiddos grow up as we’ve been working in Dumi the last 5 years, and are excited about their bright futures!