International Projects Group: the gift of light
East Timor is one of the poorest nations in the world. In much of the country there is no electricity, with people in rural villages relying on candles and polluting kerosene lamps for lighting and firewood for cooking.
Energy poverty leads to poor health from inhaling smoke, kerosene fumes and diesel gas from generators. The Timorese Government, despite plans to electrify much of the country, is resigned to the fact that at least 20% of the population won’t have access to a centralised grid in the next 20 years.
Since 2001, the ATA’s International Projects Group (IPG) has been working with East Timorese communities to provide clean, renewable light and electricity. We have helped to install solar lighting and power to more than 1000 homes, community centres, orphanages, schools and hospitals in remote rural villages.
The IPG consists of volunteers and professionals and we have a strong focus of training Timorese people to install and manage their own solar power and lighting. We work in partnership with community groups in Australia and East Timor.
“When you install clean, green lighting in a house in East Timor, it makes a huge difference to people’s lives.”
- Michael O’Connell, long-time IPG volunteer
Projects completed in 2011-2012:
- Small household lighting system (Village Lighting Scheme) – Three hundred houses in Remexio sub-district received solar-powered lighting for the first time. The Kangaroo Valley and Remexio Partnership (www.kvrp.org.au) raised funds for the project.
- Baguia Community Centre – A medium-scale off-grid solar power system was installed at the Baguia Community Centre. This system now powers 24 laptops, 7 sewing machines and music instruments including an overhead projector. This project was completed in partnership with MacKillop Catholic College, WA. (https://www.mackillop.wa.edu.au)
- Mau Nuno and Suro Crai primary schools – The two primary schools were fitted with 80W solar panels so that functional literacy classes, community meetings and other community gatherings could happen in evenings. The teachers can also now use laptops for education in the morning. This project was implemented in partnership with Ballarat Sebastopol Cycling Club and Ballarat Friends of Ainaro Community Committee.
- Hatolia pre-secondary school – The school building is newly constructed with aid from Australian individuals. In partnership with Beaconhills College, Victoria, ATA ensured the school is equipped with solar electricity for a laptop and mobile phones.
- Tumin and Maleat Community Centre in Oecussi
- Laverteri Community Centre
- Same – Faun Nabilan
- Viqueque – Children on the Edge training facility
To give the gift of light to a village in East Timor, visit the ATA webshop and make a donation.