By Hailey Wilson
SACRAMENTO — When North High School student Evelyn Valdez joined her school’s Solar Suitcase club, she had no idea it would lead her to a small village in Kenya.
“It has been a dream for me to come and serve communities in Kenya,” she said. “It was amazing to see how teenagers could make such an impact in the lives of others.”
In partnership with We Care Solar, PG&E provided more than 100 We Share Solar Suitcases to 19 high schools throughout Northern and Central California.
Of the 19 schools, three schools were selected to send two school ambassadors and a teacher to deliver the suitcases to Kenya: Bakersfield’s North High School, San Jose’s Independence High School and Sacramento’s Rio Americano High School.
During the 12-day service learning trip, the students and teachers shared sustainable energy education with Kenyan youth, and installed eight Solar Suitcase systems. An additional 39 PG&E solar suitcases will be deployed to Kenya later this year.
Although light and compact, the We Share Solar Suitcases enable people in these communities to run businesses, charge their cell phones and light their studies after dark.
“The impact that the solar suitcases have in Kenya is astronomical and changes lives of the people there forever,” said Matt Grossman, a student from Rio Americano High School. “The new world view I’ve gained from this trip has inspired me to go back to my community and make meaningful changes.”
PG&E covered all expenses for the 12-day trip, led by the international nonprofit WE Charity.
“This program is something we take with us, my students and I, to empower others, teachers and students to continue to do great things for others,” said Juan Gomez, North High School’s teacher who traveled with the group to Kenya.
Read more about the Solar Suitcase Program:
- Two Local Students will Help Deliver Solar Suitcases to Kenya
- Students Going to Kenya, Part of PG&E Solar Suitcase Program
- PG&E Helps Students Bring Light to 2,400 Kenyans with Solar Suitcase Program
Email Currents at Currents@pge.com.