Lights For Life: These Orang Asli Kampungs Need Your Help To Put Up Solar Panels

An activist said one of the villages only has generators and the families have to share cables just for a few lightbulbs at night.

Cover image via GivingHub & @TheQueen_Alya (Twitter)

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A non-governmental organisation (NGO) is hoping to raise RM135,000 to set up solar panels and provide electricity to Orang Asli kampungs

The fundraiser was highlighted by activist Alya Syahida Allias on Twitter on Tuesday, 14 December.

Alya said she has been working in the field for over 10 years, providing education to the Orang Asli community and raising awareness about them across the country.

She works with SOLS 24/7, an NGO that runs free education and social empowerment programmes for underserved communities in Malaysia

They are currently running a campaign called Lights for Life that Alya is championing.

Through Lights for Life, they plan to equip homes with 'Pico Solar PV' panels, which is not only cost effective but also energy efficient technology.

"Making electricity available for rural communities like in indigenous Orang Asli villages increases productivity, encourages education progression of children, and increases overall household financial savings," reads their brief on a GivingHub donation campaign.

"In a nutshell, electrification reduces poverty."

SOLS 24/7 currently plans to install solar panels to help 151 families who have lived without access to electricity for over three generations

These are the six villages that they think would benefit greatly:

– Sungai Perangin Village, Perak
– Kolam Village, Perak
– Langkap Tanjung Ipoh Village, Negeri Sembilan
– Pucur Village, Johor
– Hanir Village, Kelantan
– Sempar Village, Pahang

Alya said her personal target is to raise RM28,000 for two villages, especially Sungai Perangin Village

Although Sungai Perangin Village is only a two-hour drive from Kuala Lumpur, she said the Orang Asli villagers have been living off-the-grid, without basic utilities such as electricity, water, and phone coverage.

They only have electricity generators and water from a nearby river, which they share cables and pipes for among 20 families.

"Hanging out with the villagers gave me a shock," Alya recounted on Twitter.

"As they do not have Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) providing them electricity, they have generators and pull the cables here and there. Imagine, we (city dwellers) will only spend about RM300 monthly on our electricity bills with the air-conditioning on, but for them, just to light three to four rooms (with single light bulbs), they have to spend up to RM600," she explained, summarising that being energy poor is expensive.

The solar panels will not only give them light, but will also save them money from purchasing petrol and more lamps, reduce their exposure to noise and smog pollution from their generators, and also allow the children to study for school later into the night.

She hopes that the public can help contribute to ease the Orang Asli community's daily lives by sharing out the cost of some solar panels

"We plan to supply and install each family with a 'Pico Solar PV' set. The set is very lightweight, mobile, easy to plug, and ready to use. It can sustain for up to five years, only using solar energy to light lights," Alya explained to SAYS.

You can find out more information and make a donation at GivingHub here or here.

However, as GivingHub charges a 6.5% service fee, you may also email Alya at [email protected] for bank account details, especially for bigger donations.

Donations of RM53.25 and above are entitled to a tax exemption receipt from SOLS 24/7.

Here are other ways you can help communities in need:

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