September 25, 2019 / Source: Kevin Sasson
ANSWERS TO MIGRATION OVERFLOW START SOUTH OF THE BORDER
As the U.S. faces a refugee crisis, with migrants trekking northward from Central America to seek asylum in the States, it’s important to consider not only why migrants flee their home countries, but also what can be done to make their countries more hospitable to their citizens.
Honduras is among the Central American countries confronting severe issues, with tens of thousands of Hondurans fleeing for the U.S. At home, Hondurans face fierce headwinds such as economic instability, high unemployment rates and extreme energy poverty in remote areas. According to the World Bank’s Doing Business report, Honduras ranks 153rd out of 190 in ease of “getting electricity.”
A recent Wall Street Journal article says, “Power generation in Honduras is mostly in private hands, but transmission, distribution and the last mile belong to the state-owned National Electric Energy Enterprise, which performs dreadfully.”
The same WSJ article places reliable electricity on par with rule of law as the top factors necessary for stimulating investment and jobs in Honduras to stem the exodus. The current energy infrastructure in Honduras is entirely undependable, and questionable politics are keeping this power, or lack thereof, in place.
Combatting energy poverty is a first step toward improving the quality of life for vulnerable Hondurans and ultimately stemming the tide of northward migration. The SonLight Power mission has never been more relevant than now as we equip the people of Honduras with light, both practically and spiritually.
Without basic electricity, vulnerable communities have no light after sunset, disconnected
communication, inadequate means to run life-saving medical devices and limited opportunities for economic development. The longer these communities stay in the dark, the more likely residents will consider migrating to areas where safety is assured, and more reliable economic conditions exist.
But hope is not lost. To date, SonLight Power has completed over 100 community solar projects in Honduras, equipping rural communities with sustainable energy. Most of these solar projects are installed at community schools that serve as community gathering places or medical clinics after school hours. These projects are not only life-changing; they are life-saving. Each SonLight Power installation yields faith-based hope and critical solar power for surrounding families living without basic electricity.
For areas in Honduras where SonLight Power has installed solar power systems, the impact is generational and multifaceted. Children receive a better education. Adults have the means to receive information and communicate outside of their remote communities. SonLight Power integrates local participation into projects, connecting residents to the projects in tangible ways. The light produced touches hundreds of people and generates new opportunities for growth and wellbeing.
SonLight Power can play a front-line role in stemming the tide of northward migration. Reliable electricity is essential to creating and sustaining economic development. From our first project in Intibucá, the immediate and lasting impact of the SonLight Power mission has been unmistakable.
Much work remains. But the more places SonLight Power can reach, the greater the chance for sustained economic development and spiritual growth – ultimately giving Hondurans more reasons to stay and live happy, healthy and fulfilling lives in the country they call home. ¡Orgullosamente Catracho!