The lack of electricity in the unrecognized Arab Bedouin villages of the Negev constitutes a major hazard for chronically ill children and premature infants. It is impossible to refrigerate medicines or to operate life-saving medical equipment. Infants born weeks or months prematurely or those suffering from genetic ailments and metabolic disorders are often moved from months-long hospital stays to a home environment that is not capable of ensuring their return to full health.
All too often, the result of returning home is physical deterioration, permanent disability and in severe cases, death. Electricity plays a crucial role in infant survival and development.
Currently, 51 solar energy systems have been installed in recognized and unrecognized Arab Bedouin villages of the Negev, all in cases where basic electricity does not exist. These systems supply energy to homes of infants-at-risk in need of treatment and technology reliant on electrical supply. In addition, health subsidies are given to families with sick infants who need to operate electric medical equipment at home, such as respirators and cooled storage for medicine.
Families participate in the program by making an initial down payment, with the assistance of micro-finance loans. Families also receive a carbon offset subsidy in exchange for not using highly pollutant generators. The ability to provide reliable, quiet and constant sources of electrical power positively changes the lives of these children and their families.