It’s almost been a year since the deadly typhoon Haiyan (locally called Yolanda) hit Tacloban and several other towns and cities in central Philippines. It ended thousands of lives and disrupted millions of others, not only in the Philippines but in neighboring Vietnam. While the Philippines is used to typhoons, with around two dozen hitting the country every year, Haiyan’s record-beating intensity was something on a whole different level, caused mainly by climate change.
The storm hit smack in the middle of the Philippines’ Christmas season, the longest such celebration in the world. As early as September, radio and TV stations start playing Yuletide songs and do a countdown until Christmas day. Unfortunately the typhoon silenced hundreds of voices on November 8, 2013, a day that will be forever etched in the country’s collective memory. What followed more than a month later was a dark and gloomy Christmas.
While things have slowly picked up since then, rehabilitation work still remains woefully slow. Among the things that haven’t been up to pace is the rate of energization. The city’s education institutions were not spared, as several schools still wait for the light bulb to go on amid the slow pace of energization.
As an advanced Christmas gift, the local subsidiary of Henkel and Solaric Philippines have teamed up to install solar power systems in San Jose National High School. This follows the successful installation of a solar energy system at the Sto. Niño Special Education Center that has been up and running in time for the start of classes last June.
The San Jose National High School is the school that services Barangay (village of) San Jose in Tacloban City. It was one of the villages that was hardest hit by Typhoon Haiyan as it is situated on a small peninsula in the San Juanico Strait and was battered on all sides during the storm. Almost a year after, the roof has yet to be repaired even as teenagers try to study in dark, hot classrooms.
The team is set to install a 10kW off-grid solar system that will light, well, light bulbs, turn electric fans and power computers. In addition, they will distribute goodies and candies to school kids there for a mini Christmas party. The team has started the work and hopes to finish this November, in time for the traditional classroom Christmas parties.
Another school they hope to energize soon is the Cirilo Roy Montejo National High School, also in Tacloban City.
Lighting up schools will solar will surely light up a lot of faces in time for the holidays.
Photos courtesy of Solaric Philippines