Children living at El Centro San Agustín del Coquí in Aguas Buenas will now benefit from a new solar energy system sponsored by the MCS Foundation and Empowered by Light of California to ensure the continuity of services, the nonprofits announced.
The children residing at the home are victims of abuse and mistreatment and are experiencing “a significant fear of the dark” as they lived in the San Agustín de Coqui for months without power or light in the aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and María, the entities said.
The shelter began an islandwide and national appeal in 2018 to install solar energy to improve services for the children. After more than a year of efforts, the MCS Foundation and Empowered by Light joined to fund the solar and battery project.
“The environment, in the middle of the forest reserve, offers that ecological space to receive and experience that peace for these children who have suffered so much in their young lives,” said Sister Blanca Colón, executive director of El Centro San Agustín del Coquí.
“In addition, the solar energy system will help El Centro see significant savings that will allow them to reinvest in more resources for the children, and the solar panel and battery installation process will help educate them on preserving the environment and solar technology,” she said.
“When the lights go out, the children become more vulnerable — even more so if it is night, as the darkness brings negative memories. Having electric power is of great importance, not only to meet the needs of the children, but to care for their emotional health, given that their stability has been greatly affected by their past experiences,” she said.
Meanwhile, Liana O’Drobinak, executive director of the MCS Foundation said “after hearing the stories of the abuse these children suffered, before coming to the center, and all that happened — no water or electricity for five months as a result of
the hurricanes — we were very moved. We knew we had to do something, and we were excited when we were approached by Empowered by Light to make the Centro’s dream possible.”