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Projects in Brazil

10 projects completed

The Amazon Basin, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, influences weather around the globe, and is home to thousands of unique indigenous communities, which rely on the region for their survival. All of us on Earth benefit from the region’s biodiversity. However, many indigenous communities are fighting to protect their territories from encroachment by illegal mining and farming operations--both of which have been destroying the rainforest at alarming rates in recent years.


First project completed

The Huni Kuin living in the Brazilian Amazon are being poisoned by river water contaminated by heavy metals from mining operations, medical waste from neighboring cities, pesticides runoff from the agriculture, fuels from boat traffic and water-borne parasitics and bacteria. 


According to the United Nations, the leading cause of death in children under the age of 5 worldwide is lack of access to clean water. This is one reason we recently supported a Mothers of the Amazon project to install solar-powered water pumps in five Huni Kuin communities. The solar-powered pumps will provide these communities with clean drinking water reducing the number of deaths and illnesses.

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First project completed

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The current situation in Brazil is extremely concerning for indigenous peoples, as deforestation rates and fires in the Amazon are at unprecedented highs, as is as the invasion and illegal occupation of public lands and the violation of human rights.

For decades the Asháninka people of Brazil (Apiwtxa) have played a vital role in ensuring indigenous guardianship over their land, and they have developed refined tactics to defend their lives, their culture, their territory and the forest. The remote Amazon region in which the Ashaninka reside, on the Brazil-Peru border, contains one of the world's last remaining areas of high biological diversity as well a several uncontacted indigenous communities, and indigenous peoples in voluntary isolation. 

We recently installed solar and energy storage (batteries) to power a portion of the Yorenka Tsorenski Institute--founded by the renowned indigenous leader, Chief Benki Piyako. The Institute is a communal gathering place used by the tribe and for Ayahuasca healing ceremonies. The Institute's goal is to integrate traditional wisdom with newly developed techniques to offer a response to the current planetary crisis by addressing ecological, cultural and social issues in an integrative manner.

This is the pilot phase of a much larger solar project for the Asháninka that we will be installing in the next few months. Check back here to learn more.


First project completed

We recently installed a solar and energy storage system with communication and medical supplies for a 600-person Xingu community in the Brazilian Amazon. The solar and battery system powers the community's health clinic and enables them to communicate directly with doctors at major hospitals so they can better prevent, detect and treat Covid-19 cases as well as other medical conditions. This project was done in partnership with Brazilian nonprofit, Sustainable Amazon Foundation, and energy storage provider, MicroPower-Comerc.

We also supported solar-powered telemedicine systems for an additional three remote indigenous or traditional communities. Our local partners took many precautions to ensure that these systems were installed as safely as possible. 

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Four projects completed


In Brazil, the Munduruku people have been fighting a series of proposed dams that would destroy their rainforest homes and threaten their traditional way of life. Empowered by Light has installed solar systems in four Munduruku communities to allow them to reliably store fish, a dietary staple, in solar-powered freezers. Solar energy also powers lights and allows the Munduruku to charge cell phones and keep in touch with other communities and with allies at home and abroad.

Empowered by Light is collaborating with Amazon WatchGreenpeace-Brazil, and others to build small, replicable solar systems for indigenous peoples like the Munduruku who are struggling at the intersection of conservation, conflict, and livelihood development. These systems allow these indigenous groups to thrive as autonomous but connected communities, while also increasing their capacity to share their stories, struggles, and solutions with the wider world.

Inspired by our work in Brazil? A simple share on social media will help spread the word and perhaps find new supporters. Or you can donate now to help create more projects like these.

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