“My name is Maddie and I participated in the WindAid short-term volunteer project in June/July 2017. My experience at WindAid was amazing and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. WindAid allows you to see engineering in action, something I am very interested in, and gives you invaluable hands on experience.
Working in the workshop shows you the process of how a turbine is made and the interesting, sometimes very inventive, methods WindAid uses. I learnt so many important skills which I could potentially use in future life such as working with hand-tools, making electrical circuits and how to make an object strong yet light (essential when creating wind turbine blades) I also learnt potentially less useful skills for my career such as welding but it’s such a cool thing to know how to do! The men who work in the workshop are incredibly helpful and nice, every day in the workshop is so much fun.
The purpose of WindAid is to build and install a wind turbine in order to benefit a small community. My installation was in Vilcas, a rural village in the mountains of Peru. We built a large turbine of 2.5kW and were able to electrify two classrooms in the local school. I will never forget how excited and thankful both the children and the adults of the village were. They did all that they could to help us and were extremely kind. To us, electricity is so common but to them it was a huge change in their lives. It was very fulfilling to see something I helped built have such a positive effect on people.
Additionally, WindAid gives lots of opportunity for travel, with flexible Fridays available so that you can make the most of your weekend and see Peru. I traveled a lot around the country including Huaraz, Chicama and Cajamarca – all of these places were incredibly beautiful and interesting. After WindAid, I did a bit of traveling around Peru including climbing Machu Picchu which is definitely worth doing if you have the time! The volunteer co-coordinators at WindAid are so helpful and can give full details about where is best to visit. Peruvian people are also so nice and friendly, which makes this whole experience even better. Overall, WindAid is a great organisation and provided me the opportunity to better my lives and the lives of others. I would recommend taking part in a volunteer program at WindAid for an experience you won’t forget. ”
“Volunteering with WindAid was one of the most incredible experiences I’ve ever had. Two months I’ve met and worked with many incredibly-talented and inspiring people, from all over the world, some of whom come from the same town I had lived, some of whom I travelled with all the way cross the world in Peru, some of whom we are still planning on travelling together after the project. To me the two-month experience of volunteering with WindAid is not only about building the wind turbine and deliver it to a community that needs electricity, it is more about the people who I met along the journey and what I learnt from this experience. I have been exposed to so many different ways of living, different values of life, many different perspectives of the idea on making the world a better place and it encourages me to keep stepping out of my comfort zone everyday and explore more, to be more creative, be more friendly, be more aware of the world, be a better person than the one I was yesterday.”
“Spending a month working with a team of like-minded individuals who are committed to building a sustainable future and bringing renewable energy to disadvantaged communities was an experience I am certain never to forget. Unlike many of WindAid’s volunteers, I do not have a background in science or engineering. Because of this, I suspected that I might have trouble participating in some aspects of the project. My assumptions couldn’t have been more wrong, as the WindAid team immediately made it clear that they would teach me everything I needed to know along the way, and that volunteers with non-science backgrounds are often capable of bringing a fresh perspective to the build and installation processes.
Installing a turbine at Playa Blanca, the fishing village in which WindAid had installed several turbines already, was an incredibly rewarding experience. After witnessing what day-to-day life looks like for a community in which many members lack regular access to electricity, I came to understand more clearly than ever before the crucial role renewable energy will play not only in ensuring that our future is a sustainable one, but in providing aid to impoverished communities around the world.”
“Flying from Australia into the northern Peruvian desert was a daunting task, as I disembarked the plane I didn’t know what the next month held. As soon as I spotted the enthusiastic WindAid team in the airport carpark I knew everything was going to be fine. Not only did the project of installing a turbine at a school in the Peruvian Andes call on my university education, but more importantly showed me how a group of people from all over the world with different backgrounds can work together to construct something to assist in the education of young Peruvians whom did not have access to electricity. The turbine construction was only a small component of the wind aid experience.
For me the most valuable lessons were in the fascinating culture that Peru has to offer, learning a new language and interacting with new and different people that I would have never met otherwise. Thank you WindAid, I can highly recommend this program.”
Breaking a World Record
On this first issue you will find articles that address both our past, our present, and our future adventures here at WindAid. Everything from getting to come up and follow through on your own design projects, educating school children on the benefits of wind energy, and breaking wind turbine records from the energy parched coast to the glacial and majestic Andes.