New Vision Partners with 3M to Deliver Solar Lights to Ethiopia

Sometimes life has a funny way of connecting people in rather random ways. The more I blog and use my voice on social media, the more amazing connections I continue to make and it always astounds me. One connection I made recently was with Pamela O’Brien, Director of Business Development and Communications of New Vision Renewable Energy. Through Twitter, Pam saw the work I was doing, contacted me and eventually our relationship has led to partnership where I share the amazing work that New Vision is doing to provide solar lights around the world.

Last week, I had the honor of learning even more about New Vision’s work by a face to face meeting with Abdujabar (Abdul) Dire, a senior technical service engineer who works at Minnesota-based diversified technology company 3M and is part of the 3Mgives Team Africa. Over lunch at a local Ethiopian restaurant, Abdul shared his story of how he came to America as a teenager from Ethiopia and how years later he is working to give back to his village by bringing the children light. It is an amazing, inspiring story that I am excited to share.

A big part of Africa lacks electricity. In Ethiopia alone, it is estimated that over 80% of the population live off the grid without electricity and there are many negative consequences*. First of all, without electricity children are not able to study at night and are kept further behind in their education. Families are forced to cook inside their homes usually with unsafe cookstoves creating enough smoke inside the home to cause health problems and dangerous conditions.

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New Vision’s Lights for Liberia Is Helping Fight Ebola

This is a guest post written by Pamela O’Brien, Director of Business Development and Communications at New Vision, a Christian Community Development Organization working to develop innovative, sustainable and renewable energy solutions in developing communities all over the world.

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Did you know that 90% of Liberia does not have access to electricity?

After 14 years of war that left behind many widows and orphans, Liberians were just getting back on their feet once again when disaster struck: Ebola. Can you imagine the implications Ebola has had on an already fragile health care system and infrastructure? Can you imagine trying to help and treat patients let alone go to school, give birth and run a business if you do not have access to electricity? It is unimaginable.

With 90% of Liberians living without electricity, small clinics must shut down at dark or try to administer IVs and medications to fight the fevers as they spike at night, using just the light of candles or kerosene lanterns that emit toxic fumes. It is not a good situation at all.

Children waiting in line to get food and supplies. Photo credit: New Vision

Children in Liberia waiting in line to get food and supplies. Photo credit: New Vision

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Electrify Africa

On a recent flight I was reading an article on Martin Luther King Jr. in the Delta Sky magazine in which they interviewed some of Atlanta’s top civil rights activists in honor of the 50th anniversary of his famous speech “I have a Dream”. One comment made by Helene Gayle, President and CEO of CARE USA, an international humanitarian organization, stood out. When asked which words of Dr. King’s speech resonated with her the most she said, “I’m often asked why should I care about people in other countries. And I refer back to his quote, ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”. If we turn a blind eye to injustice anywhere, we’re giving in to that here as well. There is no divide between them and us“. (Delta Sky Magazine, August 2013).

Children living in Sub-Saharan Africa (photo credit: Wikipedia free commons)

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Life without electricity: A moment of reflection

The last week has been the most crazy stormy summer weather imaginable in Minnesota.  One moment the sky is blue and then without warning enormous, black thundery clouds sweep in and take over the sky leaving us in a downpour of electric lightening and roaring thunder. It has been so wet that I haven’t even had to bother watering my garden (one bonus) but so wet that I can almost see the millions of super sized mosquitoes (which we often joke are the State Bird) breeding in its wake.

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