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.