In early 2011, the NRECA International Foundation was approached by the Indiana Statewide Association of RECs with a request to send a few volunteers from Indiana to an overseas project in 2012 to celebrate the United Nations’ International Year of Cooperatives (IYC). After exploring the options for sending this handful of volunteers, the Indiana cooperatives struck on a new idea and together with the International Foundation began making plans for a much larger undertaking. Working with the NRECA International office in Guatemala, three villages in need of electricity were identified in the mountainous region of Cuilco, Huehuetenango near the border of Mexico.
The villages Las Nubes, Nueva Esperanza, and Pozo de Piedra are home to more than 170 families whose livelihood depends on the coffee they grow. They are already part of the cooperative family as members of local coffee co-ops and hope to soon belong to a new rural electric cooperative that will be established in their area.
Power has been something they have all longed for, even more so since several neighboring villages have electricity and the lights could be seen at night, piercing through the dark mountains. One of the villages even had poles set several years before, but the project was never completed, and the poles stuck out as a sore reminder of what they were missing.
Now that all has changed, and together with electricity, the villagers now have the hope of an improved quality of life through better education, health and productive opportunities.
The project, referred to as the “Hoosiers Power the World,” took months of planning and preparation before the real work could begin. Leaders of the Indiana Statewide and other co-ops traveled to Cuilco to scope out the project, Indiana cooperatives gathered and donated enough materials to electrify all three villages, and finally two groups of linemen volunteers made the difficult journey to begin the construction. In total, 32 volunteers traveled to Guatemala to work on the systems in these three villages. Due to the scope of the project, there was initial concern that only two out of the three villages would be completed, but with their dedication and hard work, the volunteers successfully completed all three projects including house-wiring for each home.
The Hoosiers project was a true a testament to the dedication of the U.S. electric cooperatives to working together and bringing light to people around the world. The NRECA International Foundation will continue to work to Electrify the World and appreciates the great support of all of the dedicated co-op and volunteer supporters that make our projects possible.
Thank you to all who made this project possible:
|Bartholomew REMCCarroll White REMCClark County REMC
Indiana Statewide Assn. of RECs
Jasper County REMC
Kankakee Valley REMC
LaGrange County REMC
|Northeastern REMCOrange County REMCRushShelby Energy
South Central Indiana REMC
Southeastern Indiana REMC
Utilities District of Western Indiana REMC (UDWI)
|Principal Monetary Sponsors|
|CoBankNational Rural Electric Cooperative AssociationNRECA International Foundation|