The village of Biqueli on Ataúro Island - Timor Leste consists of 4 sub villages: Pala, Uaruana, Ilidua and Iliknama. Only some areas in Pala have electricity. The rest of the sub villages must spend their money to buy inefficient lanterns with batteries, which last no longer than a year on average. In addition, the families also use unhealthy kerosene lights. Because of this situation, the inhabitants of Biqueli found it very interesting when the d.light S250 solar light was introduced by Move Forward. In partnership with Kopernik, Move Forward has introduced the solar light that only needs to be charged using the sunlight. Two weeks ago during the Biqueli’s Cup on Wednesday the 18th, all of the community members in Biqueli came to Pala to celebrate the raising of the Timorese flag to commemorate the independence of Eastern Timor from the Portuguese. During this ceremony, Move Forward distributed 200 units of d.light S250 solar lights to selected households. The ceremony was started with all of the authorities of the village made a speech in front of the community, making political promises and also highlighting the work that Move Forward was doing in Biqueli. We had the opportunity to introduce the staff working in the NGO and also show the d-lights.
Move Forward’s students showing the solar lights to the community while the director, Osaias Soares explains the work that the NGO is doing in the community
When all the formal events were finished, we set two tables outside the office and prepared all the solar lights to be delivered to the selected families. Prior to this distribution, Move Forward had worked with the chief of the sub-villages to decide who would receive the solar light. The priority was given to those who did not have access to electricity and did not have solar panels at their house. The solar lights were not given away for free but they were distributed at USD 12.5 per unit which was 50% subsidized from the original price to enable the families afford the light. Then we called one sub-village at a time and they came to pick up the lantern and signed the registration paper in order for us to have the list of the beneficiaries. When all of the families have received the d-light, we held a training session to show them how to use the solar light properly. We also gave them some necessary information regarding the lights and answered all of the questions raised. All of the families paid close attention to the presentation and the distribution took place in a friendly environment. We were thankful to have the young students who were attending the English Course Program at Move Forward for their help, because they took part in the distribution and also helped us organize the families who came to pick up the solar lights!
During the distribution process
After the solar light distribution I can see the difference in the village at night. There are much more lights seen in the village coming from the d.light used by the families. We went to visit one house, right next to the beach. They only had one small lantern before but on Wednesday they got a d.light S250. They explained to us that the light they had before had a very low quality but now they could just hang the solar light in the ceiling and all the room was illuminated properly. Their cute little baby, Risky, was amazed by the light coming from the d.light!
A thankful mother is breastfeeding her baby while the d.light is lighting the whole room
We will be visiting many other families to see the real impacts that this technology is making in remote areas of Biqueli. I will keep you updated!