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

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

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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.

Photo courtesy of Girls at Work

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All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

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We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

via UNSW

This article originally appeared on 07.10.21


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