Likusasa solar project
MBABANE – Two Swazi students currently studying in the USA have embarked on a project to promote solar energy in rural schools.
The duo, Anica Lin and Nikita Kotecha, who were born in Swaziland, joined forces with fellow students in America to receive the Katherine Davis Project for Peace Grant which, enabled them to return to Swaziland and carry out the project. The Katherine Davis Project for Peace Grant is a prestigious grant given to students in selected universities and colleges in the United States. The grant is given to encourage students to promote peace through sustainable grassroots projects.
The grant committee at Lake Forest College, where the two are currently enrolled, selected their project out of seven to receive the grant. They received a second grant from the Grace Groner Foundation to help with extra costs. The Groner Foundation supports student initiative in the forefront of service.
The two students chose to carry out their project in Swaziland because they were both born and raised in the country and also because in Swaziland solar energy has the potential to be an extremely useful and sustainable source of renewable energy.
"The hike in electricity prices was another leading factor, which led us to pursue solar energy," Lin said. They chose to work with Our Lady of Sorrows High School (OLOS) due to the helpful impact they have made in the Hluti community through the school, the boarding house and the clinic.
The project entailed installing a solar panel system for Our Lady of Sorrows Clinic as well as working with the high school students and exposing them to alternative energy sources. This was done with the intention of inspiring them to be the future leaders of a greener and more sustainable Swaziland. Both Lin and Kotecha believe in the importance of education to bring about an empowered youth for a brighter future.
"We plan to achieve our goal through interactive workshops about alternative energy sources, concentrating on viable options for Swaziland," Lin said.
The installation of solar panels will result in a reliable back-up source of electricity, which will improve the safety of medical procedures conducted at the clinic as well as to keep precious drugs, which are hard to come by, refrigerated to preserve them. Lin said that during the installation they taught the pupils about sustainable energy sources with an emphasis on solar energy. She also said that even though the project was heavily disrupted by the teachers strike, they were able to continue working with the remaining pupils in the hostels.
"One of the most valuable moments of our time spent was working with the students with whom we developed strong bonds," she added. They are hoping to raise more funds, which will allow them to continue with their project and hopefully expand it.
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