In honor of this Thanksgiving Holiday in the U.S., we wanted to give the many reasons why we are grateful for YOU.
You made it possible for over 40 students to complete the Permaculture Design Certification Training in January.
Your generosity gave light to all students. Also, it allowed two UDS Electrician Classes to install Solar Power at the UDS Center in January and June 2019.
You supported 75 young men and women through their year-long journey of learning a trade. They started in March 2018 and graduated on April 13, 2019.
Your kindness empowered the UDS Liberian Team to answer the request of parents. They wanted an affordable and quality primary school in their community. Our team created UDS Academy in September 2018 and completed its first year of programming in June 2019.
Finally, you welcomed the third cohort of students in May 2019. They started their year-long journey in learning and practicing skills in their respective course(s). Your continued support will help them complete their course(s) and graduate in 2020.
Without a doubt, we have many reasons to be grateful for all that YOU do!
Reliable and uninterrupted electricity improves the quality of education for students at our training center. On June 12, Taleance T Tokpah (the owner of T & T Solar Tech) spent the day teaching 18 electrician students about solar power and giving them real experience with installing it. Please read the caption of each photo to know what they experienced and gained from this opportunity.
As you can see, solar also powers our students in learning renewable energy with this practical experience with Taleance T Tokpah (the owner of T & T Solar Tech). Your generous support made this learning opportunity possible for your electrician students. Although the current economic situation caused us to miss our mark in achieving 100% renewable energy, we did connect half our computer lab. Thank you for being a Classroom Hero for Liberian Youth!
With graduation just around the corner, it is important to pause and highlight what you helped Uniting Distant Stars accomplish in the first quarter of 2019:
Over 40 participates received Permaculture Design Certification training in January. Two of the graduates implemented the tools of this training to be self-sufficient. A young woman returned to her family farm in Bomi County about 2 hours from Monrovia, because she saw the value of Permaculture training in providing income for her family. Another man (see photo below), who already had gardens in the Monrovia area, realized how he could produce a better yield and provide more for his family.
UDS Electrician Students received real experience with the solar installation with the guidance of the vendor/technician. The students securely placed the solar panels on the roof and installed the wire connection from the panels to electrify our center. Most of our center is powered with solar except the computer lab.
UDS Kickball and Football Teams brought home 1st and 2nd place victories respectively on March 30.
Thank you for your continued and generous support in equipping youth with the knowledge and skills they need to realize their potential!
This past January, the students enrolled in Uniting Distant Stars electrician program assisted in installing the first stage of the long-awaited solar panels of the learning center in Monrovia. With the assistance of Taleance T Tokpah (who was the vendor from T & T Solar Tech and a technician himself) guiding them along the way, our students were able to bring the learning center to a new level of independence where it will not rely as heavily on the city’s unreliable grid nor a diesel generator.
The number of times after hours, work was done in the dark became numerous due to power outages. The cost of diesel also meant the generator was left for class hours and emergency use. Having a kitchen, coursework in electrical work and a newly updated computer lab are nothing without the power to make them run. But now they have that power.
Future students will not only be able to easily learn how solar panels work but also how to install and maintain them. Besides the usual skills that have been taught in our electrician course, the hands-on solar panel experience will give our students an additional skill that will set them apart when they are seeking full-time employment upon graduation in a field that currently does not have as many people with expertise in the growing field of renewable energy.
The solar panels also now show how easy it is to provide clean, environmentally-friendly power that lights up and powers many of the essentials needed to run a place of learning that provides for over 150 students and staff. It does not cover all of our energy needs but is a perfect example of what can be done on a modest budget to help the environment in the long run if done on a larger scale.
As discussed previously, these solar panels were mostly the result of generous donors who attended the Shine a Light on Education fundraiser in Manhattan last October. Uniting Distant Stars was able to surpass the initial goal of $5,000 and unite more “Stars” in showing the importance of supporting trade skills to improve local communities on the other side of the world. Without them, and supporters like you, our many students, their families, and the communities they live in would not be able to shine to their brightest abilities.
With the beginning of this new year, Uniting Distant Stars is counting its blessings and does not plan to slow down on its progress of expanding programs and opportunities for students in Liberia. With your help, we can continue to expand the number of solar panels at the learning center and become 100% renewable and self-reliant.
You can help us reach our Phase 2 goal of $3,040 by joining two supporters who have already donated $1,025! Please donate today to complete our solar project. Thank you for Lighting Up the lives of Liberian Youth!
The first phase of our solar initiative provides 24/7 lights, runs ceiling fans for cooling in our classrooms, and supports our business office during the day. A total cost of $6,000 (includes general funds) purchased all the materials for phase 1. As a learning opportunity, the vendor Taleance T Tokpah (the owner of T & T Solar Tech) worked with our electrician students to install the solar.
Taleance T Tokpah standing in the center by the table instructs our students on how to test the panels.
Before we can implement phase 2, our diesel generator will be used for our computer training course three times a week. In the near future, we will discuss the next steps to cover all our center’s power needs on solar. In the meantime, please enjoy the photos of our students learning something new.
You empowered our electrician students (blue and red shirts) to help install our solar panels with our vendor and technician, Taleance T Tokpah.
Your electrician students working together to install solar panels under the guidance of Taleance T Tokpah.
Your students and Kelvin Fomba (UDS Co-Founder & Director) testing the connections between the roof and ceiling.
Your student preparing the wire to connect the panels to the control box.
UDS Lights Powered By Solar
UDS Training Center now powered by solar.
Thank you so much to our generous supporters in New York City! You gave our students reliable and stable electricity at our center. What remarkable gift! Also, our sincere thanks to Taleance T Tokpah for sharing his knowledge and expertise with our students!
As you know, one of our greatest challenges is reliable electricity. In late November, the transformer blew-out near our center. Additionally, the company said it would not be fixed until February. Previously, the transformer failed numerous times in the last three years. However, it never took this long to be repaired.
Due to this issue, we purchased a diesel generator to operate our computer course because the electrical load overpowers our gas machine. For now, we use this noisy and dirty generator. Without delay, our Liberian Co-Founder, Kelvin Fomba, works overtime to find an appropriate vendor to determine our needs for solar.
In short, implementing a solar project requires patience and ample resources. Despite raising $5,200 in October, the funds fall short of covering our electrical needs. Thus, Kelvin contacted local companies to compare estimates of kilowatt-hour usage and costs of installing solar. Initially, we hope to start with enough solar panels to cover our lights 24/7 and our business office during the day. During the off hours, the freezer will be turned on for our water sales. Presently, we sell water to help buy stationery supplies, phone cards, etc. In the meantime, the diesel generator will operate three days a week to supply the electricity for computer classes.
As they often say in Liberia, “it is not easy-o.” Stay tuned for updates as we complete the first phase of this project and plan for the next phase.
Thank you to everyone helping us achieve reliable and sustainable energy!!!