The Barefoot College empowers women from all over the world to become solar engineers and bring solar electricity back to their villages. They ask photographer and writer Varial Cedric Houin to document the life of 15 indigenous women from Latin America, who are preparing to embark on this incredible journey – a 6-months training period in India.
In Latin America, 24.000,000 people live without access to electricity, a majority of them indigenous communities, which, over the past 20 years, have escaped persecution and genocide and live in extremely precarious conditions.
Varial is now self-publishing a 350 pages photo essay book revealing these stories and images:
“For three months, I travelled to eight different communities in Guatemala, Belize, Salvador, Ecuador, and Mexico, collecting the stories of fifteen mothers and grandmothers. These women, who had never before travelled beyond their remote communities, left their husbands, children, their entire existence, to embark on a incredible journey to bring light to their communities… and a new life.”
The book, Doña Luz: Solar Mama Stories, chronicles their remarkable experiences as they have lived them. From taking a plane for the first time, to hearing new languages, learning English, living in India for six months, training as solar engineers, returning to electrify their entire villages, becoming role models and local heroes, starting businesses inspired by their journeys, and finding respect at home and within their communities, led mostly by men, these women have overcome unimaginable challenges to electrify their communities.
“I created this book as an intimate diary to link you with unique examples of empowerment, dignity and courage. I have gathered hundreds of moments frozen in time, transcriptions and personal entries to bring the reader and the viewer into a remote world – one we never imagined still existed.”
My book, Doña Luz: Solar Mama Stories tells the story not only of forgotten people, survivors of genocide, victims of oil exploitation and marginalized communities but also of ambassadors of faith and courage.
I believe that documenting the stories through honest photography and sharing the voices of remote communities unlike ours is the most important thing we can do to understand our world. We are all connected and we need to start valuing what we have as a humanity.”
By supporting the publishing of this book through the crowdfunding page on Indiegogo, you will help me and all the indigenous people involved in these stories to make sure that this book ends up in the hands of many ministries, embassies, social actors, and foundations.
You can show your support here:
Doña Luz: Solar Mama Stories from Latin America
Format: 9×12 in
French or English
250+ color photographs, 20 chapters