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Ann Arbor non-profit aims to bring light, sustainability to rural Guatemala

A workshop of Mayan women learning about solar power.
Courtesy of Appropriate Technology Collaborative
A workshop of Mayan women learning about solar power.


The Mayan population in Guatemala is one of the largest indigenous population in the Americas. Yet many of the Mayan families don’t even have basic electricity.

The Appropriate Technology Collaborative is trying to bring light to rural Guatemala. Their Mayan Power and Light Project hopes to empower Mayan women to develop sustainable energy solutions and help them create small businesses. The program teaches Mayan women about solar energy and how to install solar energy panels, along with assistance in business development.


John S. Barrie, who founded ATC and serves as its executive director, started the program after spending time in Ecuador. While in the South American country, where, in certain regions temperatures soar during the day and plummet at night, he realized he could change the buildings to make them cool during the day and warm at night.

ATC also has projects in Nicaragua and India, and has been named one of the world’s top 100 leaders in global sustainability by Sustainia.

John S. Barrie joined Stateside to talk about ATC’s current projects.

GUEST John S. Barrie is the Executive Director of the Appropriate Technology Collaborative.

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