Video highlights impact of first-time electricity in rural Bolivian village
In May, Roanoke Electric Cooperative joined forces with the rest of North Carolina’s electric cooperatives to bring first-time electricity, and new opportunities, to a remote village in Bolivia. Watch this new video for highlights and read more below on what it means to the villagers to have electricity in their small, rural community.
Through the Brighter World Initiative, the state’s cooperatives sent a team of 13 volunteer linemen -- including two from Roanoke Electric Co-op -- to build about five miles of power line to connect the agricultural community of Laphía to the power grid. Village leaders told cooperative representatives that having electricity will create new economic and educational opportunities and a stronger community, as young people will be able to stay in the village, rather than moving to the city.
“This work will forever change the lives of the people of Laphía, as well as the co-op volunteers,” said Roanoke Electric Co-op President and CEO Curtis Wynn, “Our mission as cooperatives is to make life better for others, and through this collaborative project we are not only powered this village but also empowered its residents, just as we strive to do throughout the communities we serve.”
More than 75 buildings, including the community school, now have power through this effort. Previously, the village’s 120 residents used kerosene lights, candles and battery-powered lanterns after dark and were some of about 285,000 people in the region without electricity.
At the completion of the project, community members, local leaders and volunteers gathered at the school for a ribbon-cutting ceremony and celebration. Volunteers shared gifts of school supplies, books and soccer balls with the local children. Cheers, applause and fireworks rang out when the volunteers flipped the switch to illuminate overhead lights throughout the school for the first time.
The Brighter World Initiative was coordinated through NRECA International, a national cooperative philanthropic group that has brought electricity to more than 160 million people in 44 developing countries since 1962.