Illumination across generations

Enbridge-supported energy4everyone Foundation creates a brighter future for a Peruvian village

For the baby born that spring day, in a remote village in the Peruvian Andes, the arrival of a group of foreigners proved a happy coincidence.

Because as the infant drew its first breath, volunteers and technicians were preparing to install new technology to create a brighter future for the village.

And a continent away, as Father’s Day arrives this weekend, a baby boy in Houston can also celebrate a brighter future –thanks to his dad’s experience bringing solar systems to that Peruvian community.

The energy4everyone Foundation, supported by Enbridge and its employees, combats energy poverty, and works with partners to improve access to affordable, sustainable, and reliable energy in the developing world.

This past spring, nine Enbridge employees from across North America came together for an energy4everyone volunteer assignment to Peru. Along with representatives of project partner Light Up The World, these Enbridge volunteers installed solar lighting systems in about 30 homes, as well as a community centre that will eventually house a school.

The initiative brought the community its first reliable, affordable source of light and power – and gave volunteers a perspective that truly hit home.

Nick Rolling, a Houston-based auditor with Enbridge, spent 10 days apart from his baby boy and wife in Houston to help out with the project.

This spring’s project was particularly meaningful to Rolling because the community’s solar lights would give local children an opportunity to attend school in the village. “Now they won’t have to be away from their parents all week. As a father, that impact seemed powerful to me,” he says.

Susan Zigart, a supply-chain employee with Enbridge’s Major Projects division in Edmonton, has been familiar with the power of solar energy most her life. She volunteered for this project, in part, to pay tribute to her late father who taught her about solar energy.

“When I was little, the first book I ever saw my dad buy was on solar installations. He was so excited about it and he instilled that excitement in me,” says Zigart. “I think he’d be very proud looking down on me for this.”

Sharing pride across generations was one of the extraordinary side benefits of this solar light project, says Chris Meyer, acting executive director of energy4everyone.

Part of the project involved training local technicians who helped install and who will maintain the solar lights in the village.

For Rolling, volunteering in Peru through energy4everyone is one way he hopes to inspire future generations back at home.

“I want my son to grow up knowing about volunteering and about how other people live,” he says. “I think that’s something that we need — we need that grounding. It really makes you appreciate life.”