On the last day of 2010, we received a request for a solar suitcase from a small foundation that fell in love with a small community in Kenya. The Kolunga Village Foundation, based in Mendocino County, California, had funded and built a medical clinic that provides prenatal and post-natal care, family planning, and care to prevent mother-to-child transmission of AIDS. Peter Gordon, the foundation president, asked if we could bring light and electricity to this health facility, located on an island on Lake Victoria. One of our WE CARE Solar volunteers – Irene Abagi, a Kenyan engineer – had moved back to Kenya in 2010 after finishing college in the US, bringing with her a Solar Suitcase and a deep desire to improve maternal health. We were able to link Irene to Peter and within weeks, Irene made a personal journey to Kolunga village, which included an overnight bus ride, a ferry ride, and a final trek by motorcycle, carrying her Solar Suitcase in tow. The local villagers made a mounting frame for the two solar panels she delivered, and Irene had no trouble teaching the clinic staff how to use our “plug-and-play” system. In the picture above, Irene is shown handing the solar suitcase to Magdaline, the head-nurse of the clinic with the glowing smile. Soon the children of Kolunga village had colored a giant poster of appreciation, thanking WE CARE Solar for “thinking about our mummies.” Read Irene’s postings on her WE CARE Solar Kenya blog: http://wecaresolarkenya.wordpress.com.

 

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The Solar Suitcase

We Care Solar designs portable, cost-effective Solar Suitcases that power critical lighting, mobile communication devices and medical devices in low resource areas without reliable electricity.

By equipping off-grid medical clinics with solar power for medical and surgical lighting, cell phones and essential medical devices, We Care Solar facilitates timely and appropriate emergency care, reducing maternal and infant morbidity and mortality, and improving the quality of care in Africa, Haiti and other regions.

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