A Solar Amazon: Indigenous Female Elders Travel to India to Bring Solar Energy to their Communities

Date: 
Monday, September 14, 2015
Ercilia and Maria Encarnacion share a traditional beverage with event participants. Click to enlarge

On September 11, 2015, a celebratory event was held at the Externado University in Bogotá, Colombia marking the beginning of a life-changing adventure for Ercilia Paitekudo and Maria Encarnación Sueroque, two Huitoto women from Cuemani and Guacamaya in the middle Caquetá River region.

On September 15, through a collaborative partnership between the Amazon Conservation Team (ACT) and Barefoot College, these indigenous women will travel to India to complete a comprehensive six-month solar engineering training program. There, they will learn to operate and install solar home units, solar lamps, and charge controllers. At the conclusion, the women will return to their communities to electrify up to 250 households with solar lighting units and assume responsibility for repair and maintenance of these units for a minimum of five years in a region where alternative energy sources are greatly needed. Since 1989, Barefoot College’s solar electrification program has trained over 600 illiterate and semi-literate women as Barefoot Solar Engineers (BSE).


Ignacio Rotieroke, the traditional knowledge-keeper of the Baile de Yadico

Ignacio Rotieroke, the traditional knowledge-keeper of the Baile de Yadico in the Uitoto community of Puerto Berlin, Amazonas, also attended the event and presented Herederos de la Boa, a documentary about this traditional dance.

ACT and friends wish Ercilia and Maria Encarnación the very best of luck in this great learning adventure.

¡Buen viaje!

More articles about the Barefoot College exchange: