SANTIAGO – Non-governmental organization Liter of Light over the weekend illuminated a desperately poor community in the Chilean city of Renca by installing 50 lampposts of self-sustainable public lighting that lit up the city’s walkways, a plaza and a sports field.
“We’re very pleased at having landed in Chile with the collaboration of the CCU company and the Fiis (International Social Innovation Festival) to launch the first pilot project of Liter of Light in this country, specifically in Renca’s Villa Antumalal neighborhood,” Liter of Light president Camilo Herrera said.
Thanks to a group of volunteers, it was possible to install self-sustaining public lighting in that desperately poor, very low-income community using a method 100 percent environmentally friendly, Herrera said.
The project focuses on extreme poverty and conflicted areas where people often have no electric lighting, Herrera said.
This undertaking will be featured at the Fiis, to be held Oct. 21-25 in several poor neighborhoods around Santiago so people will feel motivated to spread this kind of project to other areas, Herrera said.
Marisol Bravo, corporate affairs manager of the CCU brewery, said the company decided to help the foundation and the community “because it’s an excellent project.”
CCU has operations in Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Bolivia.
Liter of Light, which has provided lighting for a number of communities in 15 different countries with over 350,000 “bottle lights,” was created by Filipino entrepreneur Iliac Diaz to sustainably solve poor districts’ lack of sufficient and reliable electricity services by means of innovative solar-panel installations.
Last Friday, a group of CCU volunteers and their families worked as a team with residents of the Villa Antumalal community, where some 170 families live, to install the lighting, Herrera said.
The volunteers installed 50 lampposts made of bamboo, PVC and wood, 5 meters (16 feet) tall, to support solar panels and batteries that work independently for 28 hours illuminating the 12 LED lights placed inside each disposable plastic bottle.
At nightfall, the euphoric locals watched the lighting of the newly installed lamps and celebrated the occasion with a game of soccer played under the new self-sustainable lights.
“There’s no doubt this project will mean a better quality of life and safety for our neighbors, since it provides us with more and better lighting, given that very often in this neighborhood there are electricity blackouts that last a long time,” said Mario Orellana, spokesman and treasurer for the residents of Villa Antumalal.