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Lighting up remote villages

  • Volunteers installing solar-powered lamps for the villagers.
  • Young volunteers learning to assemble solar-powered lamps.

KUALA LUMPUR (Sin Chew Daily) -- Street lights are what most of us will take for granted, but not the 3,500 residents of 24 remote villages in this country.

Liter of Light Malaysia has installed about 1,250 solar-powererd lamps to remarkably improve the living environment of some 24 villages since its establishment two years ago, with 887 now joining its ever growing line-up of volunteers.

Initially from the Philippines, the Liter of Light concept was introduced in Malaysia by an independent organization called Incitement, with the objective of improving the lives of people in remote rural areas using the simplest and most economical means so that villages could carry out their usual activities after sundown.

Liter of Light Malaysia project manager Faizeleen Mo told Sin Chew Daily the volunteers were hailing from different ethnic groups and some of the parents brought along their children too.

"Without the light, it will be impossible for children to read at night."

Joining the initiative for the first time last April, Faizeleen said she had since fallen in love with this project and had learned to appreciate the living environment she was already enjoying, having learned about the limitations of villagers during night time.

"Can you imagine cooking your meal or going to the toilet in pitch darkness?"

Building trust

She confided that the biggest challenge the volunteers had to encounter was to win the trust of local residents, many of whom did not believe they would install the solar-powered lamps for them for free.

"Although we really want to help, some of them are defensive and skeptical of our intention.

"But after we explain to them, they begin to accept us and will share with us their problems."

Faizeleen explained that the entire project cost had been funded by local businesses and donations from members of the public. She hoped more Malaysians would join the line-up of volunteers and eventually extend the service to villages in East Malaysia.

Most of the activities have been carried out during the weekends with about 40 volunteers at work during each event to ensure the installation could be completed within the specified time.

 

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