Switch Off - Energy Awareness & Wiring Rural Houses

Community Work Mar 18, 2017

My Experience

There have been nights in the past month when I was so depressed. I have given everything to the Switch Off 4.0 project. I worked like a bull for five months, getting literally abused by companies, losing 0.3 GPA, spending my entire Mahapola savings on this project to get nothing objective at the end. No positions on the AIESEC ladder, no awards/recognition, nothing to add to my CV…

However, thinking about it later, I find that I didn’t do this for any of this in the first place. I’ve gained so much from this one project than anything else, ever! For me that’s AIESEC.

  1. The Moments – Walking into Cinnamon Grand in dirty nightclothes in search of a passport, the intensive day in Kandy, hiking Ella with a 20 kg suitcase and a wounded leg…
  2. EP Experience – This comment from Youssef, and then being called ‘the best OC member’ by an EP of a different project!!! These are more valuable than any awards, IMHO…
  3. Satisfaction – I have never felt this useful to humanity before. Throughout the project, and at the moment I finished the 40 page report after being awake for the entire night, I had the feeling of being part of something grand with a long-lasting impact on society.
  4. Bond – Bonds among EP and OC. What we are doing for Madhavi right now, I’m sure someone would do to me too. 😊

You can take anything from AIESEC, and I choose to take these. Excellence over success. Glad to know I have more than enough to remember and smile about when I grow old.

First posted on Facebook: facebook.com/abarajithan11/posts/10211052588422118

The Project

Switch Off 4.0 was a six-week long project executed from 14th January to 24th February 2017. The planning phase of the project began as early as October 2016. Nine undergraduates arrived Sri Lanka as exchange participants (volunteers) in February 2017 from Egypt, Indonesia, UK, Italy and China to execute this project together with the organizing committee.

Based on on-site surveys performed by the organizing committee members in different villages, nine households in Piyasenapura, a rural area in Deltota, (Kandy District) were chosen and wired.

Click for all photos

In addition to the wiring program, the volunteers and the organizing Committee visited a mini-hydro plant in Pussellawa and the wind power plant in Puttalam to learn about energy production and to assess the viability of renewable energy in Sri Lanka. With that knowledge, they conducted interactive school sessions for students of Grade 7-9 on energy production and conservation in four schools. During the duration of the project, the volunteers spent their free time assembling and testing LED bulbs from the components purchased using the funds. The organizing committee and the volunteers also conducted door-to-door surveys in over 80 houses in various areas of Colombo, where information about domestic energy usage in Sri Lanka was collected for future analysis.