May 16th is UNESCO’s International Day of Light. It’s held on this day each year to mark the anniversary of the invention of the laser in 1960, a breakthrough that had a huge impact on both communications and medicine. One of the goals of International Day of Light is to focus on how light-based technologies can help achieve greater energy efficiency and promote sustainable sources of energy.
Have you ever considered volunteering overseas to help develop a global renewable energy infrastructure? Probably not. But if you’ve ever wanted to make a difference in the world, it’s definitely something you should look into. Here are some ideas to get you started.
GRID Alternatives – Nicaragua
This international program is always looking for volunteers to install solar systems in rural Nicaraguan communities. They bring solar power to schools, health clinics, homes and farms which provide both power and opportunities for sustainable growth. These are communities that are off the electric grid, so solar panels provide a renewable energy source for lighting, pumping water, refrigeration and small appliances. They’ll teach you everything you need to know about installing solar energy systems and you’ll be picking up new skills while transforming the future for rural families and communities.
Learn more HERE
WindAid Institute – Peru
Join volunteers from all over the world building wind turbines in Trujillo. You’ll be making a direct impact on the lives of people living in rural communities by giving them access to a source of clean, renewable energy. For the first three weeks of the four-week program, you’ll be building a wind turbine in the organization’s workshop, with plenty of time to take Spanish lessons and explore the wonders of Peru. In the last week, you’ll be assembling and installing your wind turbine in the recipient community, getting to spend time with the people who will benefit from your hard work. It’s a great opportunity to make a positive impact as you immerse yourself in Peruvian life.
Learn more HERE
Green Life Volunteers – Costa Rica
Through this solar power project, you’ll participate in a workshop that will teach you about building solar panels, and have you construct one from scratch. You’ll then donate and install the panel in a rural community school that doesn’t have access to grid-electricity. It’s a unique chance to explore the natural beauty of Costa Rica while learning, sharing and educating the local community about renewable energy and solar powered systems.
Learn more HERE
There are hundreds of other volunteer opportunities out there if you want to help make a difference and bring a source of renewable energy to communities that are off the grid. Many of these programs charge a fee but you are provided with food and lodgings for the length of your stay. The money raised from volunteers pays for the materials used in the construction of solar panels or wind turbines, and you can feel good about knowing where your adventure-dollars are being spent. Next time you’re thinking about taking a journey off the beaten path, why not volunteer for a renewable energy project and live an experience you’ll never get as a tourist.
Now that’s a bright idea on International Day of Light!