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An Inspiring Story of Solar
Submitted by miriam on Tue, 03/29/2011 - 14:32.
Rafi’a Abdul Hamid lives in the harsh and desolate deserts of South Jordan and has lived without electricity, along with many of her neighbours all her life.
Either the infrastructure which provides electricity doesn’t reach them or they simply don’t have the money to afford it. However, all that looks set to change as Rafi’a Abdul Hamid and her friend bring to light the advantages of solar energy.
The two Jordanian Bedouin women have just completed a six-month course in India where they were trained as solar engineers. Although they have never been employed they were carefully selected by the elders in the village to attend the course at Barefoot college in India which helps poor rural communities become more sustainable.
“We’ve been taught about solar energy and solar panels and how to generate light,” explains Rafi’a Abdul Hamid, a mother of four who lives in a tent in the deserts of South Jordan. “Hopefully we will be able to teach others and use everything we’ve learnt here in India to improve our village.”
Building Sustainable Bedouin Communities
Bedouin communities in Jordan live off their herds and land but are also highly dependent on government handouts. They usually make up the poorest sector of society in Jordan and have a very low standard of living. It is good to see the government developing this project in a strategic way that will encourage and enable these villages to generate their own energy and also become more self-sufficient.
Raouf Dabbas, the senior advisor to the Ministry of Environment in Jordan said: “Providing this green technology to the rural community, whilst it will not have a major impact on reducing climate change, will have a profound impact on the socio-economic position of the Bedouins and it will help improve their standard of living.”
The project is also seen as progress towards Jordan’s plans to source 20% of its energy from sustainable sources by 2020. Jordan currently imports 98% of its oil and energy from the outside and at a time when crude oil prices are unstable, it is good to see Jordan actively looking for sustainable forms of energy.
Realising the Potential of Renewable Energy
This specific project is not only about training women to help bring solar power to poor and remote villages but it's also about demonstrating and teaching how renewable energy can improve people’s daily lives and also cut back emissions.
Barefoot college launched the solar power course for women in 2005 and the qualified individuals have greatly contributed to utilising solar power in order to provide electricity to over 10,000 homes in 100 other villages. As a result, this has also saved 1.5 million litres of kerosene from polluting the atmosphere.
With so much success already one can’t help but feel confident that change is also on the way for the sleepy bedouin villages of south Jordan.
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