+
Heroes

Rebuilding with sun: A story of hope, innovation, and positivity for Nepal

Doing good — in an environmentally responsible way. Win-win.

True
Gates Foundation

Even before the deadly earthquake hit Nepal on April 24, 2015, almost 24% of its citizens lived without electricity.

The World Bank estimates that 23.7% of Nepal's population did not have access to electricity as of 2010. Following the 8.8-magnitude earthquake — and 120+ subsequent aftershocks, some measuring as high as 7.3 — consistent electricity become an even bigger problem for the nearly 28 million people who live in Nepal.

Nepal's major cities and many outlying areas now have even less access to consistent electricity.

This NASA image shows how much electricity access has changed since the earthquake. The areas that are orange have less electricity now than they did before the earthquake.


Areas with less light output after the earthquake are shown in shades of orange; areas with the same output are black; areas with more light are purple. The map compares two periods: The pre-earthquake period includes VIIRS observations made on clear days between March 21–30, 2015; the post-earthquake period includes observations from April 19–28. Combining several days makes the observations more meaningful and less prone to error. Image and text by NASA.

To help restore electricity to Nepalese citizens, an organization called Rebuild With Sun launched an impressive campaign to bring solar energy to Nepal.

All images by Rebuild With Sun.

The effort began when Gham Power, a company that had already been operating in Nepal for the five years leading up to the earthquake, "began donating solar lights and charging stations to relief workers, and to displaced individuals and families when the earthquake hit," according to Rebuild With Sun's Indiegogo page.

Before the earthquake, Gham Power had installed solar energy at 600 sites, many of which provided important services — a hospital, a shelter for trafficked girls, and a research lab located at the Mount Everest Base camp, for example.

Gham Power began working with other local solar energy companies in Nepal and joined forces with Global Nepali Professional Network to launch Rebuild With Sun with a goal of bringing solar power stations to the areas most affected by the earthquakes.

Solar power has already helped make a difference in the relief efforts.

"People had a fear in the darkness, and they couldn't communicate with the outer world," Bir Bahadur Ghale, a micro hydro specialist and local resident of Barpak (which was at the epicenter of the earthquake) said in an e-mail.

Ghale explains that Gham Power's solar power stations have already helped people coordinate with each other and reduce panic. "First they can call their families and update they are safe. Second, they can listen to the radio programs through their mobile phones, which helps them to stay together and not to panic in the difficult situation."

Life in Nepal is still a long way from returning to normal, but things are slowly getting better.

"People are desperately trying to get back to normal, despite the constant grueling onslaught of aftershocks, Sandeep Giri, the CEO of Gham Power told Upworthy.

Although the initial earthquake happened over a month ago, "[on] May 27th, everyone got an early morning wake up call of four straight-up 4+ magnitude aftershocks within a span of couple of hours, each one a terrifying reminder of the 7.8 magnitude shock that turned our world upside down on April 25th," Giri explained.

Rebuild With Sun is working to solve Nepal's energy deficit in the short term and the long term.

Currently, they're helping with relief efforts, establishing stations that will power heavy appliances for relief and rebuilding work:

"In the near term (within 3-6 months), we will set up 1 to 2 kW solar power stations in rural villages that are not currently served by large relief organizations. These systems power heavier appliances necessary for relief, and rebuilding work (power tools, water pumps, water purifier kits, medical devices, small fridges, etc.), and will remain in place once relief work is over."

And for the future, Rebuild With Sun wants to rebuild Nepal's damaged power system with a green power system that can be used as a model in the wake of other natural disasters:

"Long term, we want to support Nepal in rebuilding with a greener infrastructure. We want to accelerate the deployment of rural microgrids and help create a smart and distributed grid network in Nepal, which should serve as a reference model for disaster response and clean energy deployment."


Pretty cool, huh?

You can help if you're interested.

So far, Rebuild With Sun has raised over $12,000 from individual contributions and over $100,000 from corporate partners SunPower Corporation, Conergy, and SolarCity.

They've launched another fundraising campaign where you can make a donation if you'd like to help.


You can see the requests they've received for help here. At the time this was written, initial requests have been completed for 30 sites, solar power is on its way for 57 sites, and 65 sites are waiting for help.

This is a great example of the hope, innovation, and positivity that can follow a tragedy, and a reminder of all the good there is in the world.

All illustrations are provided by Soosh and used with permission.

I have plenty of space.

This article originally appeared on 04.09.16


It's hard to truly describe the amazing bond between dads and their daughters.

Being a dad is an amazing job no matter the gender of the tiny humans we're raising. But there's something unique about the bond between fathers and daughters.

Most dads know what it's like to struggle with braiding hair, but we also know that bonding time provides immense value to our daughters. In fact, studies have shown that women with actively involved fathers are more confident and more successful in school and business.

Keep ReadingShow less
Identity

This blind chef wore a body cam to show how she prepares dazzling dishes.

How do blind people cook? This "Masterchef" winner leans into her senses.

Image pulled from YouTube video.

Christine Ha competes on "Masterchef."

This article originally appeared on 05.26.17


There is one question chef Christine Ha fields more than any other.

But it's got nothing to do with being a "Masterchef" champion, New York Times bestselling author, and acclaimed TV host and cooking instructor.

The question: "How do you cook while blind?"

Keep ReadingShow less
The Prince Charles Cinema/Youtube

Brendan Fraser dressed as Rick O'Connell.

Brendan Fraser might be making the greatest career comeback ever, racking up accolades and award nominations for his dramatic, transformative role in “The Whale." But the OG Fraser fans (the ones who watch “Doom Patrol” solely to hear his voice and proudly pronounce his last name as Fray-zure, for this is the proper pronunciation) have known of his remarkable talent since the 90s, when he embodied the ultimate charming, dashing—and slightly goofball—Hollywood action lead.

Let us not forget his arguably most well known and beloved 90s character—Rick O’Connell from the “Mummy” franchise. Between his quippy one-liners, Indiana Jones-like adventuring skills and fabulous hair, what’s not to like?

During a double feature of “The Mummy” and “The Mummy Returns” in London, moviegoers got the ultimate surprise when who should walk in but Brendan Fraser himself, completely decked out in Rick O’Connell attire. The brown leather jacket. The scarf. Everything.

Keep ReadingShow less

Gordon Ramsay at play... work.

This article originally appeared on 04.22.15


Gordon Ramsay is not exactly known for being nice.

Or patient.

Or nurturing.

On his competition show "Hell's Kitchen," he belittles cooks who can't keep up. If people come to him with their problems, he berates them. If someone is struggling to get something right in the kitchen, he curses them out.

Keep ReadingShow less

This article originally appeared on 01.27.20


From 1940 to 1945, an estimated 1.3 million people were deported to Auschwitz, the largest complex of Nazi concentration camps. More than four out of five of those people—at least 1.1 million people—were murdered there.

On January 27, 1945, Soviet forces liberated the final prisoners from these camps—7,000 people, most of whom were sick or dying. Those of us with a decent public education are familiar with at least a few names of Nazi extermination facilities—Auschwitz, Dachau, Bergen-Belsen—but these are merely a few of the thousands (yes, thousands) of concentration camps, sub camps, and ghettos spread across Europe where Jews and other targets of Hitler's regime were persecuted, tortured, and killed by the millions.

Keep ReadingShow less
Health

What I realized about feminism after my male friend was disgusted by tampons at a party.

"After all these years, my friend has probably forgotten, but I never have."

Photo by Josefin on Unsplash

It’s okay men. You don’t have to be afraid.

This article originally appeared on 08.12.16


Years ago, a friend went to a party, and something bothered him enough to rant to me about it later.

And it bothered me that he was so incensed about it, but I couldn't put my finger on why. It seemed so petty for him to be upset, and even more so for me to be annoyed with him.

Recently, something reminded me of that scenario, and it made more sense. I'll explain.

Keep ReadingShow less