By Ines Amarelo
Río del Sol, Mexico, May 1 (EFE).- Georgina Beltrán and her husband, Abraham Ramírez, both over 60 years old, have just had a solar panel installed and, for the first time in their lives, they can now enjoy music and watch movies together in the comfort of their home.
“I feel very happy because now we live together listening to music, watching movies,” Georgina tells Efe while sitting next to her husband and her daughter Natalia. “We can spend more time together.”
Iberdrola Mexico’s Lights of Hope project has provided electricity to 100 homes in Río del Sol, in the southern state of Oaxaca, one of the poorest in the country.
Most residents of the tiny hamlet, in the municipality of San Juan Guichicovi, live in mud or wooden houses and work in corn and coffee production
Many of the women also embroider textiles which they then sell in markets.
NEW LEASE OF LIFE
Georgina, Abraham and Natalia live in a small mud house and they survive with bare basics. Beds, a couple of hammocks and chairs, a table and their work tools.
But since the Summer, they also have a TV with a DVD player and a speaker to listen to music.
Abraham puts on some music and sits on the bed while Georgina and Natalia roam over to the kitchen to turn on a light.
The lamp is one of four that they have, along with two double sockets.
“Thanks to the company that helped them, they are much better,” Natalia says as she translates her father’s words, who only speaks Mixe. “My dad wants to cry with gratitude.”
The Lights of Hope project launched in November 2019 in the central state of San Luis Potosí and, following its success, the initiative was extended to Oaxaca in December 2020, Iberdrola development manager Diana Binissa Ríos tells Efe.
“The objective of Lights of Hope is to satisfy the energy needs of the localities that do not have this service. And also contribute to the development of communities,” Ríos said.
Some 12,000 people are expected to benefit from the project and around 80 million pesos ( $4 million) will be allocated to the scheme until 2024.
LIGHTING UP COMMUNITIES
Iberdrola partnered with social enterprise Iluméxico to “bring energy closer to all these areas and families that did not have electricity. Both (Iberdrola and Iluméxico) see energy as a trigger for development,” Marisol del Campo, Iluméxico’s commercial director, tells Efe.
Iluméxico had been working in Oaxaca for 12 years after identifying several communities that were not connected to an electric grid.
Solar panels were installed in Río del Sol in August 2021, and 100 homes were powered up.
Rosalino Isidro and Elvia Leonardo – 68 and 67 years old – have changed their routines as a result of the shift.