For these students, learning, playtime, and work grind to a halt shortly after sunset. Candles or lamps are turned off after usage of an hour or two due to their cost ($0.20/night or $1.40/week). As a result, GVIS teachers reported a stark drop in student attendance and participation in school-related activities. They attribute this to financial struggles and the need of some children to help on their family farms.
The Tboli children of GVIS have very limited access to life’s bare necessities and comforts. Education is low in the list of priorities at home, falling behind farming, and taking care of younger siblings.
The socio-economic factors of the village hinder the children’s access to good quality education, no matter how passionate the teachers are in imparting at least the most basic of literacy skills: reading, writing, and numeracy.
Stiftung Solarenergie (StS) first engaged with GVIS in 2016 when we installed solar energy systems to light up their classrooms, teachers’ quarters, and student dorms. In 2017, during their project monitoring visit, the school community approached with a question: How do we help the students living in their homes to continue their studies and learning at night?
As a result, the phase II project was born.
We donated solar home systems to the SHINE program, which aims to engender an appreciation for learning and education in students and their families, through access to clean, reliable light and improved nutrition. The program aims to encourage students to learn and read in the evenings within the comforts of their homes.
Through March – April 2019, 100 households in Sitio Green Valley, Sitio Datal, and Sitio Tulad villages were lit up by solar initiatives. Students are now studying and playing under sustainable and uninterrupted light sources, which gives them more motivation to attend school.