Poverty, without doubt, can leave one powerless.
In the Philippines, one can immediately see the climate of despair based on the November 2010 survey by the Social Weather Station, wherein 49% of Filipino families (or an estimated 9.2 million) considered themselves as poor.
But in the country, the poor are powerless not only figuratively, but also literally: according to statistics by the National Electrification Commission in 2009, some 3 million households remain without electricity outside Metro Manila.
To address this issue, MyShelter Foundation has spearheaded a daunting project. Through the “Isang Litrong Liwanag” (A Liter of Light) campaign, the foundation seeks to provide sustainable lighting to a million households by 2012. And to accomplish this, the organization led by social entrepreneur Illac Diaz plans to use a very simple invention by the students of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT): the solar bottle bulb.
This innovative device is based on the principles of Appropriate Technologies – a concept that provides simple and easily replicable technologies that address basic needs in developing communities. A plastic bottle filled with a solution comprising of water and readily available chemicals, the inexpensive Solar Bottle Bulb harnesses the power of the sun to light the rooms of houses, schools or warehouses during daytime.
With its promise for long-term sustainability, these solar bottles are now being used to light disprivileged communities in Brazil and Mexico. Here in the country, My Shelter Foundation has already initially introduced this technology at San Pedro, Laguna. Currently, the foundation is exploring partnerships with both private and public entities to implement this project nationwide.
“With the ‘Isang Litrong Liwanag’ campaign, we seek the democratization of light energy here in the Philippines. Through the solar bottle bulb and the support of likeminded people, we aim to make that a reality,” notes Diaz.
POWER IN NUMBERS. A snapshot of the few hundred assembled Solar Bottle Bulbs lined up for installation to give light to the residents of Sito Maligaya, San Pedro, Laguna. With at least a thousand bulbs per community, Isang Litrong Liwanag hopes to cause a revolt from darkness.