Lighting up Haiti: solar kits are sent to the island
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Lighting up Haiti: solar kits are sent to the island

Haiti’s residents may finally get access to electricity across the island, as a new project is set to provide the population with daily electricity.

Klere Ayiti – Light Up Haiti – is a project between Haiti’s money transfer company Sogexpress, Arc Finance and Western Union, through which Haitian relatives can buy kits for family members back on the island.

Each light kit includes either two or three LED lights, a charging solar panel, and several charging sockets. The lights serve either as flashlights or can be hung and used inside homes. Charging takes up to eight to ten hours to fully top up the light’s battery life.  The kits cost $140 and $180 respectively.

Daniel Fils-Aime is Haitian with most of his family still living on the island. “Yes, I liked the product quite a lot. These types of products are a necessity. Price is not an issue when it comes to necessities like energy. People will save money in the long run.” he told the Miami Herald.

“The basis is to leverage remittances to send sustainable clean energy to the people of Haiti,” Stephanie Foster, Western Union’s senior regional manager for the Caribbean comments. “Access to electricity is a big challenge in Haiti for many, many families.”

Haiti is reported as having one of the lowest electrification rates in the world, only 12 percent of its 9 million population were connected to the electric grid prior to 2010’s earthquake. Current electrification is estimated at 25 to 30 percent, region dependent.

Election preparations

The country has entered its final stage of pre-election preparations, set to be held on August 9.

The news coincides with the OAS report on migration issues between Haiti and the Dominican Republic – scheduled for release on July 29.

“We have to continue to find a definitive solution to this problem… This is a small island with two countries both with very different economic, political and social realities.” OAS General Secretary Luis Almagro commented.

Yet the UN has called on the government of the Dominican Republic to address racial profiling allegations during deportations of people of Haitian descent.

“Migrants are entitled to protection and Dominicans of Haitian descent have the right to reside safely in the territory,” Mireille Fanon Mendes France, head of the UN Working Group of Experts of People of African Descent said.

The organization estimates approximately 19,000 people have already left the Dominican Republic since June 21 due to fear and concerns of violations when deportations officially begin in August.

See more:

Dominican Republic offers help to Haitians willing to leave the country

Haiti PM: Dominican deportations creating “humanitarian crisis”

Dialogue on repatriations for Haiti is long overdue