Benin Natitingou – Installing the solar panels
Finally, the 6kW< stand-alone photovoltaic power plant is installed in Natitingou (Benin), where the non-profit organisation Lulabu di Trofaello which looks after “Project Vegetable Garden” the aim of which is to caringlyand professionally train young students, whose families are in severe economic and social difficulty. The Non-profit Organisation Lulabu aspires to occupy at least a small percentage of young people seeking work. The installation, originally planned for a Caritas mission in Burundi, wasdiverted to Benin as it was impossible to guarantee, even at the minimum level, the security of Seva for Africa technicians; as a consequence of the extreme turmoil that had erupted in Burundi. The photovoltaic power plant supplied by the humanitarian project primarily consists of a pack of 24 FIAMM 2V LMSolar 1020 Ah C120 batteries (maximum duration 3,000 cycles), 24 250Wp Waris panels, 2 Tarom MPPT 6000 charge regulators and the improvement of the existing electricity system. The stand-alone power plant, constructed thus, is capable of ensuring 60% of the Benin Natitingou mission’s energy needs and enabling a noteworthy saving of the diesel necessary to supply the costly existing generator.
The missionary association “Lulabu Non-profit Organisation” operates predominantly within the Natitingou diocese, in the North-West of Benin. The diocese hugs the region of Atacora’, the mountain range that, to the North, signals the border with Burkina-Faso
At the “Madre Ursula” battered women shelter, the stand-alone photovoltaic power plant donated by the humanitarian project Seva for Africa is working . The plant (11 kW) is maintained by the technicians from the Tanguiéta Hospital, which is located about 50 km (a 1-hour drive) from Materì.
Materì (north-west of Benin, 30 km from the border with Burkina Faso) can be reached through the national trunk road connecting Cotonou (Bénin) with Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso) and then driving for another 16 km on a small but easy road. The shelter is a boarding school for 40 girls from 8 to 18 years old divided in two groups: the younger ones, who are mostly orphans, and the teenagers who have run away from forced marriage or from prostitution. Almost all the girls take part in the regular scholastic and work activities of the shelter or work for the local production and commercial organizationsregularly study and work at the shelter or for a productive and commercial entity operating on the territory.The person in charge of the shelter is a Spanish nun of the Theatines Order, Sister Antonia, who is assisted by two more nuns qualified for advanced nursing practice. Besides the the nuns’ house, the chapel and the dormitory, the "Madre Ursula" shelter has a dispensary, a study hall with a library, computer terminals, labs dedicated to training activitiesfor school kids and the nearby village: labs for needlework, cooking, hairdressing and soap production; plus a vegetable garden, a well and a mill which is also used by the villagers. In addition, the center raises animals in the yard. Among the activities carried out are: after-school activities, support for the village kids of school age (about one hundred), nursing assistance (free of charge in almost all cases, especially for those villagers most in need), activities for women's social advancement lead either by the nuns or by themore mature girls who are responsible for the dormitory, and with the help of the villagers who are particularly close to the shelter. Spiritual and religious development is left to the individual's choice.