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Clark is new home of Solar Lolas 'Training Center'


The state owned Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA), the Clark Development Corporation (CDC) and the Diwata-Women in Resource Development Inc. (DIWATA) recently signed an agreement for the use of the BCDA Group Women’s Center facility in the Clark Freeport Zone to train more solar engineers among the women of the indigenous Aeta community or now commonly referred to as “Solar Lolas”.

The agreement was signed by BCDA Chairperson Ma. Aurora D. Geotina-Garcia, CDC Chairperson Eliseo B. Santiago and DIWATA President Cleotilde A. Manzo in a simple ceremony held at Clark Freeport Zone.

BCDA Chairperson Garcia said the assistance provided to DIWATA is part of BCDA’s and CDC’s Gender and Development (GAD) community relations program and corporate social responsibility.

“Our vision is to provide assistance not only for community development and support to basic services for one of our major stakeholders—the Aeta community, but more importantly to empower its women,” Garcia emphasized.

Under the agreement, BCDA and CDC will provide DIWATA a training room and storage facility at the BCDA Group Women’s Center in the Clark Freeport Zone for its “Tanging Tanglaw” Project. The project involves training indigenous people (IP) grandmothers and mature women who are no longer the primary care givers of their families into solar engineers.

On the other hand, DIWATA will operate, manage and supervise the maintenance of the BCDA Group Women’s Center and Storage Facility in coordination with the BCDA and CDC.

For his part, BCDA President and CEO Arnel Paciano D. Casanova said the “Tanging Tanglaw” Project will be part of BCDA’s and CDC’s yearly GAD Plan and Budget to ensure the continuity of the project.

The “Tanging Tanglaw” Project was conceptualized from the experience of four Aeta women referred to as “Solar Lolas” who trained in India’s Barefoot College for six months on fabricating, installing, repairing and maintaining solar lighting equipment. Each pair of “Solar Lolas” are now responsible for solar electrifying 100 households and for repairing and maintaining the equipment for a minimum of five years.

Once the communities are solar-electrified, the quality of life of the IPs is expected to be more productive as they will be able to use appliances and gadgets. Children, on the other hand, will be able to study at night and possibly use computers and access the internet to increase their knowledge and awareness.