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The Green Life: Five Maasai Grandmothers Light the Way to Solar-Powered Huts

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March 24, 2011

Five Maasai Grandmothers Light the Way to Solar-Powered Huts

Solar Power Hut Five Maasai grandmothers have proved that you’re never too old to learn. After spending six months in India studying solar energy, the women brought their knowledge back to their villages for everyday use. India’s Barefoot College partnered with Basecamp Foundation (a Norway-based group interested in tourism and development) to select villages not connected to Kenya’s power grid and transform them into solar-wielding manyattas, fence-encircled hut compounds.

Known as “barefoot solar engineers,” the five illiterate women learned about solar energy via sign language, including how to interpret solar designs and install panels and batteries. Now, with their newly installed solar panels, 120 dwellings in five villages will soon be illuminated, allowing women to make beadwork indoors and children to have light by which to read and study. Solar power will also reduce the use of expensive kerosene lamps and log fires that cause respiratory problems.

--Shirley Mak


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