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Solar Energy International and WE CARE Solar Partner in Solar Suitcase Program

Posted by: april
December 4, 2011

Solar Energy InternationalBy Holly Loff, Solar Energy International Development Associate

Colorado Gives DayColorado Gives Day, on Tuesday, Dec. 6, is just two days away. Colorado Gives Day is a 24-hour period of online giving where every donation made to Solar Energy International at gets a boost from the First Bank Incentive Fund. This is part four in a five-part blog series leading up to Colorado Gives Day. Each day we will highlight one of the 2012 SEI Outreach goals.

In partnership with WE CARE Solar, Solar Energy International integrates renewable energy education into a youth development service project in which high school students build Solar Suitcases. The suitcases contain complete solar electric systems that provide overhead LED lighting, charge walkie-talkies and cell phones, and include LED headlamps that come with their own rechargeable batteries.  When completed, the suitcases are shipped off to remote communities of the developing world to enhance maternal and neonatal care. 

Solar SuitcaseThe Solar Suitcase project utilizes STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) based learning and environmental education.  Students and teachers learn how to build the suitcases, and then ship them to health clinics in the developing world complete with a heartfelt letter written by the students to the community receiving the suitcase.   

Your donation to SEI will help us to bring the Solar Suitcase projects into additional Colorado schools, ultimately allowing for the building of even more suitcases for more communities of the world. Additionally, donations will allow SEI to offer additional Solar Suitcase Ambassador trainings. 

The Solar Suitcases are currently in use in 14 countries with more requests submitted to WE CARE Solar everyday.  It is critical that the health workers that use the systems receive training in their operation and maintenance. Solar Energy International and WE CARE Solar have developed a Solar Suitcase Ambassador training program for women.

Currently, all of the WE CARE Solar technicians are male, and many cultures do not support men training the female midwives and nurses. 

The women volunteers selected to participate will receive a six-week online course on solar electricity followed by two weeks of in-person training on the operations and maintenance of the solar suitcase, cultural differences of the rural areas, and instructing the health center technicians in the operation, maintenance, and troubleshooting of the systems.  

Your donation to SEI will help to expand the Solar Suitcase project. If you donate here on Dec. 6, your donation will get a boost from FirstBank ... Your donation, only bigger!

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