March 17, 2018

Solar Dehydrator
They say that Malawi has 3 seasons, the rainy season, the dry season, and the “hungry” season (when a subsistence farm family hopes to have saved enough food to live on while waiting for their growing crops to reach maturity and be harvested). Most of Malawi’s farmers don’t have access to electricity and so refrigeration is not an option. Survival during the “hungry” season is particularly difficult during those all -to -frequent years when the rains fail and reduce crop yields,sometimes making it a matter of life and death. We hope to institute small businesses which will produce simple and cheap-to-make solar powered fruit/vegetable dehydrators which can be used by farm families to preserve food for the “hungry” season.
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Solar Power Rural School Electrification:
Last year we donated a solar powered battery charged computer tablet system to a rural Malawi secondary school without electricity, teaching faculty and students how to use and program the tablets, which had been filled with educational software, including “the internet without the internet,” Khan Academy. This year we decided to power the schools directly. We raised enough money, with your help, to pay for the installation of solar power electrical systems in 9 rural non-electrified schools in the Kasungu East District of Malawi. The first school should have its power system up and running by April 7, when our annual Bridges to Malawi trip begins. We will be bringing approximately 30 more laptops to donate, divided among 3 of these soon-to-be electrified schools. We hope, by doing this, to enhance the education of secondary school students in the area in which we work, making it possible for some to become so facile with computer use that they can get a job in the city, earn a better income, send money back home to their parents, and thus break the perpetual generation after generation cycle of poverty inherent to the 80% of Malawi’s population who are subsistence farmers. We hope to electrify even more schools while providing more laptops over the next few years until every student, both primary and secondary, in the Kasungu East District can enjoy this benefit. We will also be covering the windows and doorways of these schools with mesh screen to reduce exposure to mosquitoes and therefore malaria as part of the project. Please help us out!