Four Aeta's are going to India to study Solar Energy

Author: Darvin Tocmo  Date Posted:23 September 2014 

Manila Philippines – Evelyn Clemente a 49 year old member of the Aeta tribe in Zambales province had never taken a plane in her life until Thursday September 18,2014. “Kalabaw at Jeep lang ang sinasakyan namin.” ( We ride only carabaos and jeepneys), she said, holding a passport as she lined up at the immigration counter at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 1. She and three other Aeta grandmothers left the country for New Delhi, India at noon on Thursday to study Solar Energy for six months and become “Solar Engineers”of their communities upon their return. Clemente and Sharon Flores, 40,come from an Aeta community in Subic Zambales province, while Cita Diaz, 40 and Magda Salvador, 42, are  in Barefoot College. Barefoot College is a non-government organization (NGO), catering to the basic needs of rural communities in India and other under from Bamban, Tarlac province. The four Aeta grandmothers are the first batch of seven people belonging to the Indigenous Peoples (IP) in the Philippines chosen to be scholars -developed countries for the past 40 years. It has been teaching communities “solar electrification” apart from offering them clean water, education and livelihood. The founder of Barefoot College, Bunker Roy, believes that training women, who normally take care of their family, stay in their communities, lawyer Patricia Bunye, president of Diwata-Women in Resource Development, said. “Grandmothers are chosen for this program to ensure not only acceptability of the program, but more importantly its sustainability,” Bunye said. Unable to finish grade school, Clemente said she was both excited and scared. “We are nervous because we don’t know much. This is our first time outside the country. We don’t know what to do,” Clemente said as the four of them were about to board a Cathay Pacific flight to New Delhi. But the Aeta grandmother was optimistic that the people there would help them out. “ Our goal is to go back and be able to help the people in our barrio,” she said. After six months, the four Aeta grandmothers will be in charge of maintaining the solar panels and leading the communities for the project’s sustainability. “The money they would have used for kerosene lamps has to be set aside in a fund. The money will then be used to buy a set of solar panels in the future,” Bunye said, speaking about how the project will be made sustainable. Three other members of Indigenous Peoples in the Philippines will be sent to India sometimes in March next year.       Find more Information at: