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From the Blue Ridge to Bolivia

Cooperatives were born to bring electricity to rural communities across the country and to make life better for those we serve. That same cooperative spirit recently sent 13 volunteer line technicians from North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives  to provide electricity to the tiny village of Laphia, Bolivia. Blue Ridge Energy was proud to be part of this effort to bring first-time electricity access to this remote, rural area and forever impact the residents of Laphia.

Among the group of volunteers were Blue Ridge Energy line technicians Eddie Stephens and Jerry Gregg. Both men left their families behind for the two week journey that was destined to change their lives.  

The project, funded by NRECA International, is one of many ongoing global projects to bring electricity to poor and underdeveloped regions of the world.

Thin air, rugged terrain and mountain weather conditions were just a few of the many challenges volunteers faced setting poles by hand and pulling lines across a large ravine with the help of local villagers using primitive equipment.  

When the project was complete, the volunteers and the villagers of Laphia gathered in the school for a celebration unlike any other. Like at home, a switch was flipped and a light turned on. This time, it was for a generation of people that had never experienced electricity before.

The Brighter World Initiative was coordinated through NRECA International, a national cooperative philanthropic group that has brought electricity to more than 120 million people in 43 developing countries since 1962.