Engagement For Wellbeing

  • Thursday, Mar 22, 2018
Hannah Lloyd ’12, MA ’17 is a graduate of the Social Innovation and Sustainability Leadership Master’s Program.

During her graduate studies she traveled to Arequipa, Peru with classmates for anHannah Lloyd in Peru elective course, International Engagement: Sustainable Community Wellbeing. Ms. Lloyd developed the idea to donate Luci Solar Lights to the small community of Alto Cayma. The tradition of donating lights has carried on since Hannah’s experience and as the current class prepares to travel to Alto Cayma, Hannah’s original idea continues to illuminate the connection between Madison and this remote piece of the developing world.

How did you develop the idea to donate solar lights?
"My inspiration for bringing solar lights to the community of Alto Cayma in Arequipa, Peru stemmed from my mother. Prior to traveling she had researched a variety of sustainable products and came across Luci Lights. We both thought it would be an impactful technology to bring to this location given the limited access to electricity."

What was it like to directly witness the impact that donating solar lights had on the communities in Peru?
"As you can imagine, it is difficult to bring a resource like solar to a developing community that cannot meet basic needs such as food and water. I will say, it was amazing to see technology’s influence on wellbeing. For example, our onsite partners, the Promotoras de Bienestar (Promoters of Wellbeing) shared their strong value of education and the challenges students face living in a community like Alto Cayma. Through this conversation, it was evident that children’s access to light for studying was essential for their learning capacity. Many children study in the evenings under candlelight which can be hazardous and raises health concerns. Education is a form of currency, which is one of the few ways families migrate out of squatter villages to where resources exist."

What was your most memorable moment during the Peru trip?
"My most memorable experience was working with the women, the Promotoras de Bienestar, in Alto Cayma, and learning from them their successes and challenges as community leaders. There is nothing more humbling than coming together in community with strangers and walking away as family. I grew exponentially as a person by being present and vulnerable to sharing lived experiences in a space that many often disregard and devalue."

"Engagement with our global community inherently connects us, but also bonds our empathy and call-to-action beyond borders. I truly am grateful for these women’s stories, perseverance and success; they are our global champions." 

Call to action: why is it important for people to donate to this cause?
"I want people to understand the role geography plays in Peru’s extreme poverty. Migration to urban areas for work, education and resources has become desirable. The mountainous and rainforest landscapes make it difficult for resources to exist across this beautiful country. Cities are becoming overpopulated and result in communities like Alto Cayma where sprawl of housing grows faster than services can be developed to support. This is the reality of surviving in developing countries like Peru." 

"Solar energy is an untapped resource in climates like Peru. Arguably, solar may not be a top priority for this community lacking basics, but it provides opportunity for technology to meet short-term needs with long-term impact. It is a small gift of hope which I believe is a driver for change."

(Learn more about the Master of Arts in Social Innovation & Sustainability Leadership program at Edgewood College.)