Aida is an orphan, but she prefers not to think of herself that way. Instead, she describes herself as a dancer, actress and writer at the Kapudzama Community Based Organization in Lilongwe District, Malawi. The Community Based Organization (CBO) was founded by members of the community to benefit their own people. Kapudzama’s CBO has a band, dance troupe, drama club and soccer team. They offer nursery school and vocational training for tailors. They offer HIV/AIDS education, counseling and care, and serve over 500 orphans and vulnerable children at high risk for HIV/AIDS.

 

Aida is one of these children. Her parents died of AIDS when she was four, and she now lives with her aunt and uncle just a few minutes away from Kapudzama CBO. She goes there every afternoon because it’s a place she knows she can feel safe and stay out of trouble—she and her friends in the drama club write and perform plays about AIDS prevention, educating children in the surrounding community about how to stop the spread of the disease.

 

Aida is committed to making the future of her community brighter, so we thought it was only fair to help.

 

Kapudzama CBO was Innovation: Africa’s first solar project in Malawi. It was our 38th solar installation, and marked our expansion to our fourth country in less than four years. For Aida, solar energy means that the CBO will be open late, and that she and her friends can meet up there in the evening. It means they can study and do their homework at night, without the light of dangerous, unsafe and expensive kerosene lamps. And for the first time ever, she will have access to a computer through kapudzama’s solar powered computer lab, with laptops donated by our partner in Malawi, Goods4Good.

 

Visit Goods4Good

 

This project, installed Wednesday, February 23, 2011, marked the first of many in Malawi. We have a long list of projects still waiting for our help. But for one village, and one girl in particular, solar panels are already bringing new light to their community.

 

We’d like to thank Aida and the staff of the Kapudzama CBO for their tireless efforts on behalf of the people of their village. Our energy wouldn’t mean anything without theirs.

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