Nicole Hwang's Blog

The duty of our lifetime

I’m sure we all see some type of charity campaign almost every week, and at one point we are so well aware of the issues that we simply lack the attention span to give it a second thought.

In fact, I myself was not the most active advocate around. I often passed by the brochures, the messages and the advertisements senselessly and considered them yet another brainchild of some help-seeking organizations. What I so often forgot, however, was that they’re not pleading for my help, but really reminding me that it is my duty as a member of society to give.

I must confess, I sometimes take so many things in life for granted and overlook the fact that the same resources that I habitually waste are the very supply vital to the continuation of food, water and basic necessities of life in places like Uganda.

In Uganda, there is a place called Peace Primary School, where kids can be kids away from the worries of daily life. Peace Primary School, which started in 1994 as a nursery school, educates about 200 children, mostly orphans and the destitute, up to 7th grade education. For us, this may not sound like much, but for the children, it is their dream come true.

The school, however, faces great trouble as the cost for electricity, which provides power to light classrooms, dormitories, office and school yard, is whopping 10 times greater than what average US householder would pay for the same energy source. And to make matters worse, just when AHEAD Energy, an organization devoted to providing energy systems and development projects in growing nations, was about to initiate a solar energy project, the plan faltered with the electric utility’s cutting off of the school’s power source and a $500 bill that came along.

Now Givology has partnered up with the AHEAD Energy for its Peace Primary School Project, hoping to connect the donors to the people in Uganda praying for the little energy source they can get.

There is, however, something I found unique about this project from other Givology plans: it’s eco-friendly! This project is good for the people and for the environment. For those active environmentalists, perhaps this is a chance to catch two birds with one stone.

How is it an eco-success? All the energy projects proposed by AHEAD utilizes solar power, organic waste and rain water to supply energy to the school, alleviating the much stressed environmental issues our society is facing. AHEAD plans to build a rainwater harvesting system which can collect rain to be used for toilet flushing, cleaning, laundry and bathing, continue the solar energy project to provide lighting at night for extended curriculum, implement a new solar thermal water heating program to warm up the water for cleaning, bathing and laundry, and—this is my favorite—build a biodigester which converts organic waste material (manure) into methane gas for cooking.

Uganda Peace School Sustainable Energy Project was unique to me for one more reason: it allowed me to realize once again that perhaps there need no reasons for my donation, that perhaps my continuous attempt to find a reason to donate was wrong in itself, because it’s not only AHEAD Energy that should be sending hands of assistance but everyone, including myself, as well.

Let’s make a promise on one thing: when we hear the phrase “make a change,” let’s not simply laugh it away, but let’s truly take those words into our hearts and make it our responsibility for a lifetime.

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