Renewable Energy Enterprises Foundation (REEF) a California based 501(c)(3), a USA designated public charity uses renewable energy technologies to alleviate poverty. Our approach addresses poverty at three separate points of the culture’s social structure: impoverished families (Family First Program); poor communities (GREEN communities); and, promote renewable energy careers for future professionals in the post-secondary university and government career development systems (LEADS program).
The company is a collective of volunteer professionals with expertise across multiple disciplines in the sciences and humanities located in the Philippines, concentrated in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Currently REEF is operating in the Zambales and Bulacan provinces. Although within reach of the capital, provincial towns and rural areas are homes to numerous families living either off the grid or unable to afford electricity. Such families and individuals rely on solid fuels such as wood, crop residues, charcoal, and kerosene for both light and for cooking. Because kerosene lamp fire burn at low temperatures, the incomplete combustion contains a high level of pollutants, some pose health problems while others contribute to green house gases.
It turns out that the black carbon soot from kerosene lanterns is twenty times higher than is currently assumed when factoring in this light source into calculations of total black carbon emissions. United Nations Environmental Program study co-author Kirk Smith, from the UC Berkeley School of Public Health:
“There are no magic bullets that will solve all of our greenhouse gas problems, but replacing kerosene lamps is low-hanging fruit. There are many inexpensive, cleaner alternatives to kerosene lamps that are available now, and few if any barriers to switching to them.”
The health implications of poor indoor air quality, which at times is worst than outdoor conditions lead to respiratory diseases with women suffering the highest incidences. The practice results in extremely limited monies diverted to higher healthcare costs, higher school absenteeism resulting in poor grades and ultimately not completing primary school.
Born from this troubling fact grew REEF’s Family First Program.
Created to address family cohesiveness by providing economic and health opportunities the program distributes solar powered lanterns and clean wood burning cooks. Solar lanterns even with such a simple appliance, represents the first real chance to break generational poverty.
For the first time children can study long after dark. According to United Nations the lack of affordable electricity is the greatest impediment to finishing their education. For parents, the added hours of nighttime light means opportunities to work extra hours to add to their income. For women it means fewer cases of lung cancer and children for the first time have a chance to possible attend college.
The seed that begat REEF started in 2003 when the founder and president returned to Candelaria, Zambales after 38 years. As a boy growing up in Candelaria farm in San Rogue, memories abound when he returned. But the memories that seared his memory were the families who continue to live in generational abject poverty. Unbeknownst to him at the time was the beginning of REEF. It took until 2008 to received the US Treasury Department’s status of a tax-exempt charity.
Check out a video on our Family First Program