Global Ministries partner, Las Memorias Hostel provides dignified care to people living with HIV/AIDS. The population served is very diverse, and Las Memorias works without regard to social status, religion, gender, or sexual orientation, or whether the person is local, from another region in Mexico, or is from another country. Las Memorias Hostel was founded in 1999 and, in addition to providing direct services to people with HIV/AIDS, they also provide education and prevention. Currently 75 of the 89 beds at Las Memorias are being utilized by HIV-positive individuals.
The 32,284 sq. ft. hostel can cost over $2,000 to keep air conditioned in the summer heat. The installation of solar panels would allow Las Memorias to redirect its modest funds from electricity expenses to be used for the medication and food for the patients they serve. It is estimated that over the next seven years, the project to purchase and install solar panels will allow for $40,000 in savings for Las Memorias, and several million in savings over the life of the solar panels.
Las Memorias hopes to install a total of 56 solar panels at a cost of $725 per panel. Global Ministries invites gifts for this purpose in order for Las Memorias to create a more sustainable facility, better equipped to serve those living with HIV/AIDS.
|Update May 2015|
The Las Memorias Hostel Solar Panel Project received its first $ 7,800.00 toward the funds needed for this project. These funds are being used for the purchase of tools, preparation of the surface where the panels will be located, and the preparation of the groundwork for the converter, special wiring, and the panels before their installation.
By reducing expenses such as electricity by using advanced and environmentally-friendly technologies, Las Memorias will be are able to better care of those at the hostel and carry out their prevention and training programs in general. Without the worry of energy costs, they will not have to be concerned about limiting the amount of training in the use of electrical power tools in the carpentry and mechanical classes. They will also be able to use the natural resource of the sun for a water boiler that will allow for hot water in the showers.
|Update January 2016|
Las Memorias continues to take steps towards using renewable energy sources through the completion of the installation of their first section of solar panels. The Hostel is now beginning to see a savings in its monthly electricity costs. Through reducing these monthly costs with environmentally-friendly technologies, Las Memorias is able to focus on providing better care for the patients in the facility, including securing better access to medications for residents and offering better meals.
Las Memorias already is preparing to use the solar panels for additional projects. They are looking to use the solar panels to supply energy in growing vegetables, and to provide workshops for residents and the community on the importance of self-sustainability and the benefits of using environmentally-friendly technologies.
|Update December 2016|
Several of the solar panels at Las Memorias Hostel have been installed and already they are making a difference. In their building, which houses 120 people, the electricity costs have dropped significantly. The electric bill is now 75% less than it had been before the solar panels were installed.
This project is nearing completion with just two bars of six panels each left to be installed. Each panel costs approximately $725, bringing the total cost to $8700 to complete this project.
Update July 2017
Thanks to generous donations received through Global Ministries, the solar panel grid at Las Memorias Hostel is now complete. Las Memorias is in the final stages of moving the panels into the correct position. Leftover funds from the amount received have been used to purchase a current inverter, a device which ensures that the power level remains constant.
It is expected that the solar panel energy will continue to reduce electricity expenses far into the hostel’s future, which will allow Las Memorias to budget more money toward services offered to the patients. Hostel staff plan to continue all of their current patient care efforts by providing lodging, food, clothing, medicine, and transportation to medical facilities, in addition to supporting patients’ further education and social and family reintegration. Additional outreach ministries of Las Memorias, such as talks and workshops on HIV prevention, STDs, drug harm reduction, and meetings based on the 12 steps of Narcotics Anonymous for addiction recovery will benefit both patients and the larger community.
A patient named Ana shares her story:
I arrived at Las Memorias after being treated for tuberculosis at the hospital, and I already had been diagnosed with AIDS. My daughter was being cared for by some friends, and I continued the treatment for tuberculosis, but my spleen had to be removed. The hostel companions visited me in the hospital to see how I was doing, and I stayed at the hostel after being discharged. At the hostel, they started giving me AIDS medication, and my health improved. My daughter and I have been living at the hostel for a year now, and my daughter continues with her school studies. I am already physically recovered from my surgery. I have learned also how to live without the use of drugs and I am looking for work so that I can be independent. Also, during my stay here I have begun a relationship with God.
Global Ministries extends thanks to all those who have contributed to the solar empowerment project of Las Memorias. Through the completion of this project and the presence of the solar panels, the hostel is improving their care for HIV/AIDS patients and their families.