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Salinee Tavaranan: Power Ranger

Dream Jobs 2008

3 min read

The monsoon rains have eased, and Salinee Tavaranan and several members of her team are piled into the back of a tan pickup truck. The vehicle winds along dirt roads near the Thai-Burma border, eventually pulling through the front gates of the Mae La refugee camp. Having fled torture and economic hardship in neighboring Burma, thousands of refugees now call this place home. Many have lived here for years, in simple thatched huts without electricity or running water.

But thanks to Tavaranan and her Border Green Energy Team, Mae La and more than 20 other refugee camps and villages are no longer entirely cut off from the grid. Over the past two and a half years, BGET, a project of the Thailand-based nonprofit Palang Thai, has installed solar panels and microhydro turbines across the region and trained hundreds of local residents on how to install and maintain the systems. The work of BGET has in turn given the villagers access to some of the most basic amenities: lights, computers, and decent health care, to name a few.

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Greg Mably

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