More than 50 volunteers from Pepsi Philippines swooped down recently on a resettlement village in Tacloban City with a mission of lighting up homes and streets in the area inhabited by Typhoon Yolanda survivors.
By nightfall, 76 solar bottle house lights and 23 solar street lights were installed, benefitting 76 households in New Kawayan resettlement site who began to enjoy the basic benefits of solar power.
It was a virtual quantum leap in the life of these families who have been accustomed to the dark since supertyphoon Yolanda, one of the deadliest cyclones ever to hit our planet, struck in November 2013, leaving massive destruction on people’s lives and properties in Leyte and nearby provinces.
“Talagang madilim pag gabi, lalo na sa loob ng bahay. Wala kaming masyadong magawa, pati na ang mga bata – sa umaga at hapon lang sila nakakapag-aral at naglalaro (It’s really dark, especially inside the house. We can’t do anything, especially the kids. They can only study and play during daytime),” New Kawayan resident Maria Divina recalled. She was one of the Yolanda survivors who were temporarily sheltered in New Kawayan since last December.
Pepsico Country Manager Maricelle Narciso says “This latest Pepsi Liter of Light effort in Barangay New Kawayan has also united the corporate social responsibility initiatives of PepsiCo and Pepsi-Cola Products Philippines Inc. (PCPPI) into one unified volunteer project. It is our way of giving back to make this world we live in a better place. Through the Pepsi Liter of Light program in Tacloban, we hope to literally bring light and hope to our fellow Taclobanons, to restart their lives back to normalcy.”
Also joining PepsiCo and My Shelter is a team from PCPPI, exclusive bottler of Pepsi products in the country, that provided the used plastic bottles collected from consumers, as well as the volunteers who helped put together the circuit boards, and switches, as well as the solar lights and panels for the beneficiaries.
While installation of the lighting system was going on, other Pepsi volunteers busied themselves in a nutritious feeding session for the New Kawayan children.
“Part of our life at Pepsi is about helping our home communities especially after calamities. For us in neighboring Tanauan, we know firsthand of Yolanda’s damage - not just to facilities, but also to families. This Liter of Light activity in New Kawayan is our contribution in lifting (the quality of life) of our fellow survivors, and giving them a practical tool for increased productivity and safety – free solar-powered home and street lights,” PCPPI Tanauan plant general manager Danny Tabao said.
MyShelter Foundation fouder Illac Diaz cited the Pepsi volunteers as part of a larger movement, and recognized them as “Ambassadors of Light” in line with the objective of lighting up one million households in 2015.
Pepsi Philippines is a pioneering sponsor of My Shelter Foundation’s Liter of Light projects – a partner since 2011. This project provides sustainable lighting solutions through upcycling of plastic bottles. The original ‘day light’ (a plastic bottle filled with bleach which defracts and magnifies the natural light of the sun into homes) has been upgraded to provide light when it is needed the most – at night. This is made possible through the attachment of solar panels and a simple circuit to power an LED light inserted into the bottle. This simple technology is able to provide up to 10 hours of light at night and could last up to 3 years.
In the last 4 years, the foundation has put up over 190,000 lights in 95,000 homes, impacting more than 475,000 people in the Philippines. Due to the simplicity and adaptability of this technology, this program branched out and is currently spreading light in 15 countries worldwide.
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