Solar Power System at Arab Ka'abneh

Transcript of Radio Broadcast by
The Voice of America

As reported by Khalil Al 'Asali
March 17, 1999; Jerusalem

translated from Arabic with the assistance of the Palestinian Hydrology Group


Arab Ka'abneh village lies near Hebron, on the edge of the desert, close to the Dead Sea.

Monday [March 15, 1999] was seen as historic, because a solar energy system was turned on for the first time, providing electricity to the only school in the village. A powerful computer was also installed by Greenstar Foundation. Mr. Michael North, a director of the Foundation, supervised the project, which is unique and is considered the first of its kind in the Palestinian Territories.

Mr. North says that the idea originated with the Wye River talks. "At the end of Wye River, a friend of mine heard that the Secretary of Energy for the United States, Mr. Bill Richardson, had asked if a project involving renewable energy could be demonstrated in the Middle East to coincide with the visit of President Clinton to the region last December. My friend answered immediately, 'Yes'. We started implementing the project immediately."

Mr. North added, full of enthusiasm, "In Arab Ka'abneh, they don't have electricity, they don't have telephones, they don't have running water, they don't have basic medical care, their education is not world class, it's not connected to the world economy. That all changes today. Greenstar seeks to connect remote areas to the 21st century. "

Mr. North was welcomed lavishly by the headmaster of the school and the teachers, who had prepared a convenient place for the computer. Mr. North stated that he would train the teachers and some students on how to use the computer.

Mr. Mahmoud An Najjab, a teacher at the school, thinks that the existence of the computer at the school is positive. "We are now connected to the world and can search for any information we need through the Internet within seconds."

A few minutes after the computer was installed, the electricity was running. It was a happy event for everybody. Mr. Odeh Najjada, the head master of the school, expressed his gratitude of having a computer. "It is very important to have a computer, the world of technology. Reaching such a level will help us educate and raise up the next generation."

The English teacher started typing his questions on the computer as soon as the training was over.

The people at Arab Ka'abneh are now awaiting an extension of the project, connecting the health clinic and the mosque to solar energy and to the world.