This is a guest post from Randy Hannan, Managing Director of the Trafalgar Relief and Reconstruction Fund.
As one of the outer islands of the Caribbean, the island of Dominica was right within the path of destruction of Hurricane Maria this year. 95% of buildings on the island were damaged or destroyed, leaving electricity scarce and families struggling to rebuild. So the Trafalgar Relief and Reconstruction Fund was formed to bring vital supplies and support to the mountain community of Trafalgar on Dominica. Randy Hannan, Managing Director of the Trafalgar Relief and Reconstruction Fund, shares how safe and reliable light makes a difference in a community struggling to rebuild:
Two months after Hurricane Maria tore apart the Caribbean island of Dominica, the mountain village of Trafalgar remains without power. Electricity is unlikely to be restored for many more months. Few homes have generators, so when night falls the village is shrouded in deep darkness. That has now changed.
Last week our team walked the streets of Trafalgar distributing 250 LuminAID Nova solar lights to families across the village, illuminating their homes and their lives. The lights were thankfully received, bringing joy to everyone involved, with more than a few tears of happiness and gratitude.
In developed countries, we take so much for granted in our daily lives, from clean drinking water to reliable electricity to run our lights, refrigerators and television sets. When we lose these basic necessities for even a few days, we consider it a terrible ordeal.
Without power and light, everything becomes vastly more difficult, from preparing meals, to caring for infants and young children, to studying for school. Seeing first-hand the hardship of having no electricity for months on end brings a perspective we often lack and a compassion we should all have for those who suffer far more than we can imagine.
As I left Trafalgar to return home, a friend told me when he looked across the village before our distribution, he saw just a few lights at the smattering of homes fortunate enough to be powered by a generator. Now, he sees lights twinkling across the village.
The aftermath of Hurricane Maria will continue to impact the people of Dominica for months and even years to come. Thanks to generous supporters and the amazing solar technology of LuminAID, the residents of Trafalgar now have a little more light in their lives and a brighter, safer and more sustainable future.
After a devastating hurricane season, LuminAID partnered with local Chicago organizations to get more safe light to those in need. Through the Chicago4PR campaign, Chicagoans came together to raise solar lanterns for families without power in Puerto Rico.Through October and November, over $100,000 was raised through the Give Light Program and matching contributions of the Chicago4PR campaign. Thanks to the generosity of LuminAID supporters and Chicago organizations, more than 10,000 solar lanterns were pledged for disaster relief in Puerto Rico.