We take electricity for granted. We flip a switch, and there are lights. We push a button, and we connect with the world. But many families in remote Guatemalan villages live the simplest of lives. They endure extreme hardships. A whole family lives in a smoky, dark, one-room hut with packed dirt floors, light seeping in through bamboo or wooden slats — cooking and sleeping, living and eating all in one tiny space. Through Project Indiana, Indiana’s electric cooperatives are empowering global communities one Guatemalan village at a time.
Beginning in 2012, the International year of the Cooperative, two teams of Indiana linemen spent a month electrifying three villages in Guatemala. Lives were changed, both here and there.
In 2015, the vision grew into Project Indiana and sustainable change — moving beyond electrifying villages, to making them a better place to live and enhancing the community — just as happened 80 years ago when electricity first came to rural Indiana.
With support from the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association International Foundation and the Guatemalan government, Indiana’s electric cooperatives are adopting a region in Guatemala, partnering with Arkansas cooperatives, to bring the tools and resources the Guatemalans need to do what they’re capable of doing, including forming a cooperative and improving education, nutrition, water and health care.
In the end, it’s not only light that Project Indiana brings — it’s life. Hope. Progress. Opportunities. And it brings full circle what happened in the 1930s here in rural Indiana — people working together to light a community, one pole at a time, to make a better life.
You, too, can get involved. Learn more of what’s happening as the program grows and see the impact your contributions have.
All donations are tax-deductible and go directly to the program, with the electric cooperatives covering all administrative costs.