In 2009 the Koumra School got electricity, when a foundation provided funds to purchase solar panels. There was light for classrooms during the rainy season when it gets so dark. Students could stay late to study. Classes could be held at night.
All that ended when the solar panels stopped working in 2011. The consequences for the school have been tremendous. Once the rainy season starts in April, the classrooms are too dark for the students to see in, and classes must end. This often means a course is not completed. The students do not have electricity at home so in the past they stayed at school in the evening to study; without electricity at school they cannot study later.
All this is taking its toll on the students’ success. Since the solar panels are broken, fewer students are passing the Baccalauréat exam, the country-wide test for high school graduates. The impact has been greatest for the students taking the science exam, where only 18 of 46 Koumra School students passed in 2014.
The lack of electricity affects plans for the future. A donor wants to give the school computers, but without power computers cannot be used. The school would like to offer evening courses, but no electricity means no lights in the classrooms at night.
The school needs a copy machine or printer. There are very few textbooks and the teachers must write information on the chalkboard for students to copy. With a copier or printer the students and teachers would spend less time on this and more time on lessons. But again, electricity is needed to run a copy machine.
We have two goals for the solar panels. We want to repair the existing panels or replace them, if that’s what needs to be done. Then we would like to train someone to maintain the panels. We need your help to make this happen.