Members of Peace Corps Volunteer Stephanie Bergado’s small island community pull the boat used to access their local health center boat to shore.

Stephanie is currently raising funds with her community in Vanuatu to install solar panels in the local community health center that will allow patients to be effectively treated after dark. The health center serves all 126 members of Bergado’s small island community and currently operates by flashlight or kerosene lamp during night hours. 

“The community relies heavily on the health center for all of its services, day and night, but many community members are reluctant to seek medical care when it’s dark,” said Bergado, a graduate of Southern Connecticut State University who has been living and working in Vanuatu since October 2011. “This can cause serious health complications and in some cases long term problems. The island is very isolated, and it can be extremely hard to receive batteries for flashlights or kerosene for lamps. This kind of patient care can be very difficult at times and can seriously affect the treatment given to a patient.” 

Funds raised by Bergado’s project will go toward purchasing a solar panel package with all the necessary equipment and materials. The community has agreed to contribute the cost of transporting the materials and labor needed to install the panels. In order to receive funding through the PCPP, a community must make a 25 percent contribution to the total project and outline success indicators for the individual projects. This helps ensure community ownership and a greater chance of long-term sustainability. 

“The health center building itself is strong and impressive, but without adequate lighting, it is crippled and it cannot have the positive effect it was intended to,” continued Bergado. “With a constant, renewable source of light from the solar panels, the health center can really make a difference for the health and well-being of my community.” 

Members of Peace Corps Volunteer Stephanie Bergado’s small island community pull the boat used to access their local health center boat to shore.

Stephanie is currently raising funds with her community in Vanuatu to install solar panels in the local community health center that will allow patients to be effectively treated after dark. The health center serves all 126 members of Bergado’s small island community and currently operates by flashlight or kerosene lamp during night hours. 

“The community relies heavily on the health center for all of its services, day and night, but many community members are reluctant to seek medical care when it’s dark,” said Bergado, a graduate of Southern Connecticut State University who has been living and working in Vanuatu since October 2011. “This can cause serious health complications and in some cases long term problems. The island is very isolated, and it can be extremely hard to receive batteries for flashlights or kerosene for lamps. This kind of patient care can be very difficult at times and can seriously affect the treatment given to a patient.” 

Funds raised by Bergado’s project will go toward purchasing a solar panel package with all the necessary equipment and materials. The community has agreed to contribute the cost of transporting the materials and labor needed to install the panels. In order to receive funding through the PCPP, a community must make a 25 percent contribution to the total project and outline success indicators for the individual projects. This helps ensure community ownership and a greater chance of long-term sustainability. 

“The health center building itself is strong and impressive, but without adequate lighting, it is crippled and it cannot have the positive effect it was intended to,” continued Bergado. “With a constant, renewable source of light from the solar panels, the health center can really make a difference for the health and well-being of my community.” 

(Source: donate.peacecorps.gov)

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Almost four months after its arrival, the Play Pump remains the most popular place to be. Not only children from the primary school, but parents and grandparents are often seen chatting at the spigot’s end exchanging gossip while collecting water. After school there is – quite literally – standing room only. Lines form for a chance to hop on and a take a spin. Any able-bodied person cannot walk past without a throng of learners demanding a push.

Peace Corps Volunteer Andrew Hubble recently installed a ‘Play Pump’ water filtration system, which will serve as a reliable source of fresh drinking water for his South African community. 

(Source: go.usa.gov)

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"I’m very proud of our Peace Corps Volunteers because they are standing up for the idea that every young woman can make a difference in her own life and in her community. And it is a great pleasure for me always, as I travel around the world, to meet Peace Corps Volunteers, who represent the great values and ideals of our nation."

- Secretary of State Hilary Clinton during her visit to a Camp GLOW (Girls Leading Our World) in Malawi run by Peace Corps Volunteers.  

(Source: go.usa.gov)

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"This mother was one of the first women in my village to receive PMTC (Preventing Mother to Child Transmission) treatments. She is HIV positive and her baby Ausi Bonolo was born HIV negative. This photo was taken in a remote mountainous district of Lesotho, where over 23% of the population is infected with HIV/AIDS. With the increase health care opportunities in Lesotho, help of HIV support groups and village health care workers, Ausi Bonolo has a greater chance of growing up in an AIDS-free generation." - Peace Corps HIV/AIDS Volunteer Pamela Rogers

"This mother was one of the first women in my village to receive PMTC (Preventing Mother to Child Transmission) treatments. She is HIV positive and her baby Ausi Bonolo was born HIV negative. This photo was taken in a remote mountainous district of Lesotho, where over 23% of the population is infected with HIV/AIDS. With the increase health care opportunities in Lesotho, help of HIV support groups and village health care workers, Ausi Bonolo has a greater chance of growing up in an AIDS-free generation." - Peace Corps HIV/AIDS Volunteer Pamela Rogers

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