The story of Women Light the World really starts with Mary Mahoney's story. It's a story of unanticipated encounters in unexpected places.
In 2014, Mary was flipping through a Buddhist magazine and a small ad caught her attention. The Humla Fund was looking for volunteers to help with a medical service trip to one of the remotest areas of Nepal - Humla.
Mary is not a doctor' nor a nurse. She has no medical training, but it sparked an interest. She knew that somehow she could help. She wasn't sure where Humla was.
On that amazing trip in 2015, Mary's eyes and heart were opened to the stunning beauty of the geography and the gentleness of the people. But, she was also struck that there is no economic activity other then agriculture and tourism, limited WiFi and household lighting in these villages.
The wheels in her head started to turn. What would make a difference in these people's lives? She started to ask.
Enter Ernie Chu who met Mary (chance encounter at a seminar). Founder of Green States Energy, Inc, Ernie's expertise is in solar farm development and empowering the world's poorest communities to create economic prosperity by converting solar power into solar currency.
Mary thought a lot about "light" and how that solar power turns into "currency." The currency from solar power is creating an environment for better education, the light to study longer, the light to cook after dark, connecting these villages to the world by Internet, enabling them to grow diverse/better crops, and creating economic opportunities.
In November of 2016, Mary reached out to Barefoot college. A well-known, well-respected college formed 40 years ago. Its focus was on water and irrigation systems. Twenty years ago it shifted to women empowerment and sustainability. Their focus is educating semi-literate and illiterate women (preferably older women with children) from all over the world in solar technology.
Mary's vision began to come together. She now had an education partner, the solar expertise with Ernie, and the founder of Responsible Treks who she met on her Humla trip in 2015, who became the local ground partner in Humla - assisting the new "solar mamas" on their journey between their villages and Barefoot College in India.
Mary's story is now the stories of this entire dynamic team. Together they are the nucleus of Women Light the World. Others are standing by Mary since the first life-changing trip to Humla and others have joined along the way. Mary's enthusiasm, her kindness, her gumption, is contagious.
Read more about this fantastic team and what each of them brings to Women Light the World.
This is just the beginning! Women Light the World is half way through their pilot project with three villages waiting to light up each household and each village. Mary can envision the next 25 villages, the next 1,065 households!
Empowering women, driving sustainability.