World Energy Day is celebrated every 21st of October with the aim of making us all reflect on the energy consumption that we can save in our daily lives. That is why today we want to share with you the story of this refugee camp in Azraq, the first one in the whole world that uses solar energy and in which the refugees have participated!
In 2014, lighting tents, heating water, keeping food refrigerated, studying after nightfall or charging phones to stay in contact with their families, was unthinkable for the thousands of Syrian refugees living in the Azraq camp. Located in northern Jordan, this refugee camp is located in a desert area where summer is very hot and winter is very cold. For years, the lack of electricity has made it difficult to carry out daily chores such as cooking, washing clothes or any kind of activity after sunset. However, the refugees in this camp have had their lives changed a few months ago: they are the first refugee camp to have a solar plant that provides them with electricity!
Today marks a milestone. Lighting up the camp is not only a symbolic achievement; it provides a safer environment for all camp residents, opens up livelihoods opportunities, and gives children the chance to study after dark. - Kelly T. Clements, UNHCR Deputy High Commissioner.
Until a few months ago, the refugees in this camp depended on solar lanterns. However, with this system of integral electricity, the day does not end when it gets dark. The streets of the camp are safer, food can be stored in refrigerators and now, there is access to basic household appliances such as washing machines or fans, which are necessary given the extreme heat conditions. But above all, this solar plant allows these Syrian refugees to live a more dignified life.
More than 50 refugee employees
The construction of the solar power plant in Azraq has not only improved the quality of life of these refugees, but more than 50 of them were hired for its development, so those who were selected were also able to take part in this amazing project and earn a salary. But it is not only about the income generated, but also about the experience and skills that these more than 50 refugees have acquired and will be able to put into practice on their return or even in their host country. In fact, there are those to whom this opportunity has provided the possibility of acquiring occasional jobs outside the camp!
An example to be followed
This refugee camp is an example on World Energy Day. Now, 20,000 Syrian refugees have access to clean and free energy. In addition, being an environmentally sustainable camp that saves 2,370 tons of CO2 emissions per year is not the only benefit: UNHCR estimates that they will save 1.5 million dollars that they will be able to invest in other necessary assistance!
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