Villagers to benefit from solar-powered lights

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Rotuman villagers after received solar powered lights last week. Picture: FIJI GOVERNMENT FACEBOOK PAGE

More than 150 people from 30 households in two villages in Rotuma will no longer rely on benzene lamps after they received solar-powered lights last week.

The 50 families and 50 students of Pepjei and Paptea were the first on the island to receive the solar-powered lights under a government-funded project.

Pepjei Village chief Gagaj Suakma’as said the renewable power source would improve the lives of his people.

“More than 150 members community members, 30 households and 50 students from my village have benefited from this solar project and we will no longer use benzene lamps at night,” the 26-year-old said.

“Our children will be able to study well at night, our mothers can prepare breakfast properly early in the morning and we will be able to watch Walesi TV to get the latest news in Fiji and from around the world.

The initiative was made possible through the Fijian Government’s Solar Assistance program and the Rights, Empowerment and Cohesion (REACH) mission.

The REACH mission funded by the Japanese government was a partnership program between the Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation Ministry and the United Nations Development Programme.

Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation Minister Rosy Akbar said provision of the solar system would not only reduce the community’s dependency on imported fossil fuels but also improve the quality of life through clean and affordable electricity.

She said the initiative was part of government’s commitment towards connecting every Fijian to reliable electricity supply by 2026.