Every year the Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Washington D.C. (RPCVw) demonstrate their continuing commitment to the work of the Peace Corps by sponsoring a Peace Corps Partnership Project. The year they teamed up with Sarah Mendelsohn, a PCV from Ohio who is helping her village in Cape Verde build solar panels for a community center.
The community of Hortelao where Sarah is serving does not have access to electricity. This lack of electricity has, among other things, put serious limitations on the village's jam business. When the solar panels are up and running the jam business will be able to expand its product base by using refrigerators they already own. Expenses will decrease since there will no longer be a need for a generator to mix the fruit. Sarah commented on the powerful impact the solar panels and the RPCVw partnership will have, stating:
I cannot tell you how excited my community of Hortelao is for our solar panels. A couple of weeks ago a group of girls began forming a study group, which will take place in our Community Center once they have lights. The women involved in our jam-making income generating project are currently receiving a workshop from a Portuguese NGO. During this workshop the women asked for suggestion of new products that will be possible with refrigerators, this is the first time I have ever seen them speak in workshops; normally they are painfully shy. Also, this NGO looked over our proposal for the solar panels and is interested in pursuing the idea for the entire town of Hortelao. I thank each of you for your generosity and promise to keep you up-to-date, with pictures and messages from Hortelao.
RPCVw plans to donate $1,000 to the project and they need the support of members to reach that goal. They are holding their annual Partnership Reception on June 26, 2008 to raise funds for the project. The event will be held at Toro Mata - The Art of Peru, 2410 18th Street NW, Washington, DC 20009. The suggested minimum donation is $20 for RPCVw members and $30 for non-members.
Click here to RSVP to the event and learn more about the Partnership Program.