Casa Guatemala, Guatemala
Our goal is to exchange diesel generators for a solar power system to bring affordable and clean electricity into a children's village located in an isolated area
With this project the PowerOneForOne Foundation is going to finance a solar roof system to provide a part of the childrens village with solar power.
Casa Guatemala has operated for the last 30 years as an isolated children’s village that cares for up to 300 of Guatemala’s most vulnerable and marginalized children at any time. Over the course of their existence, Casa Guatemala has provided a home, education and healthcare to thousands of orphaned, abandoned, and abused children placed in their care by the Ministry of Child Welfare as well as children from over 30 isolated and rural villages who often live in extreme poverty.
Because of the isolation of the location, Casa Guatemala has never had access to electricity other than that which they are able to generate themselves. Through the help of donors, they have been able to acquire diesel generators that allow them to provide lights approximately eight hours a day as well as pump water from the well to the water tanks and buildings. The cost incurred in running the generator on this limited basis is over $100USD per day. There is no refrigeration and no lights for the children after 8:30pm.
With the increasing cost of diesel, Casa Guatemala realizes that this is not a sustainable solution for their energy needs. Thus, they are now seeking the funding needed to install a solar panel system that will provide sufficient energy for the entire project. Though the initial capital investment will be costly, Casa Guatemala will be able to eliminate the burden of over $36,500 a year from their operational budget while reducing their environmental impact and improving the quality of life for those in their care.
The first phase of the project was completed with the installation of 14 solar panels in 2013. However, the system was struck by lightning and 3 panels, the invertor and 16 batteries were ruined. So far, the invertor and batteries have been replaced but the system is still not fully functioning. Casa Guatemala is seeking funding to replace the 3 panels that were destroyed, repair the current wiring system and increase the number of panels so that the dependency on the diesel generator is reduced.
Benefits of Going Solar
Casa Guatemala stands to benefit in numerous ways by switching their power source from the current diesel generator to solar panels. Though there are financial, environmental, educational and remedial advantages, this project will also bring Casa Guatemala closer to their goal of becoming self-sufficient.
The financial cost of a solar power system with the capacity to provide 24-hour electricity for Casa Guatemala will easily pay for itself in the savings from the current fuel expenses in less than three years. Though the organization will have to afford for the replacement of batteries eventually, the shelf life of the batteries is long enough to ensure financial planning is in place for the future costs. With a savings of approximately $36,500USD a year in fuel costs, the organization can allocate funds from this each year to go towards replacing the batteries when the time comes. As Casa Guatemala relies on donations and the profits from their social enterprises to cover their operation costs, this savings will allow them to use their resources to improve other aspects of the project. Since the project will be broken down into three separate phases, the cost of the project will be more attractive and accessible to a wider range of potential funders and grant opportunities.
Casa Guatemala is situated in Las Brisas, Rio Dulce, Casa Guatemala’s Children’s Village is a paradise filled with laughter, learning and love. Spanning over 100 acres of tropical jungle are the many buildingsthat make up the community.
These include separate housing for the boys and girls, local staff and primary school, medical clinic, library, carpentry shop, outdoor playing fields and a dining hall, where the meat, fresh fruits and vegetables from the school’s farm are served.
The farm is both a learning tool where the children gain the agricultural skills needed in the outside world and a source of provisions for a balanced diet. Apart from the wide variety of produce grown, the farm raises pigs and Tilapia, a type of fish, the surplus of which is sold in the local community to aid in the self sufficiency of the project on a whole.
The medical clinic provides free health care services for the children of the centre as well as the many local indigenous communities in the area. We currently serve 30 different rural communities in the Izabal region of Guatemala and 87% of the children in our care come from indigenous Mayan