Submitted by the San Juan Island School District
During 2018-19 school year, the Friday Harbor High School’s advanced placement environmental science class partnered with a nonprofit organization called We Share Solar to build two “expedition class solar suitcases,” studying both renewable energy and social issues around the world. We Share Solar, a nonprofit charitable organization whose mission includes providing health workers with reliable lighting, mobile communication, and medical devices, provided kits and a solar power curriculum, presenting students a hands-on learning project about the global impact solar power can have as a renewable resource.
The class built two solar suitcases and after a long wait due to import delays, they were finally delivered to Luoka Primary School and Naretu Academy in Narok County, Kenya. After installation, a thank you note was received by FHHS teacher Sam Garson that included a description of the immediate impact these suitcases make as well as photos of the installation.
According to information provided, “The schools, previously, had no access to electricity and had to rely on candles, flashlights and kerosene lanterns which is costly and unsafe. With the addition of the Solar Suitcases to light the staff offices and classrooms, the students will have extended times to study and prepare for state examinations. The teachers will be able to prep for lessons for an extended time and charge their mobile devices without having to travel long distances.”
Areas served by We Share Solar, such as this one in rural Kenya, do not have regular access to electricity and schools tend to be run by candle or kerosene light which drastically impacts educational opportunities. In some places, students can be found studying for exams at gas stations, where lights are on in the evening.
This particular project will help serve 422 students, 20 teaches, and five classrooms. Power from the solar suitcases will also be used to charge tablets, e-readers and laptops during the day.
Garson shared his pride at having been a part of this project, “We are hoping to return to this deployment model with the students at Friday Harbor High School in the very near future and would like to see at least one suitcase a year being sent to students that need it.”
More Information can be found at https://wecaresolar.org/who-we-are/.