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Hawaiian Electric supports Ma Ka Hana Ka ‘Ike with $20,000 for new solar kiln

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Hāna-based nonprofit Ma Ka Hana Ka ‘Ike recently received a $20,000 donation from Hawaiian Electric to support the construction of a new solar wood-drying kiln to expand its construction program for at-risk youth in East Maui.

Hāna-based nonprofit Ma Ka Hana Ka ‘Ike received a $20,000 donation from Hawaiian Electric to support the construction of a new solar wood-drying kiln to expand its construction program for at-risk youth in East Maui. 

For more than 22 years, Ma Ka Hana Ka ʻIke – in partnership with Hāna School – has mentored and taught its students marketable construction skills through the process of building structures and other items to help meet current needs in their community. Through the years, program participants have built 39 kūpuna cottages enabling community elders to age in place and 41 educational spaces on the school’s campus.

The donation, funded through the Hawaiian Electric Industries Charitable Foundation, will support materials, supplies and labor to build a 288-square-foot solar kiln as an additional learning space for Hāna youth.

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Annually, Ma Ka Hana Ka ‘Ike is gifted fallen trees and trains students to create usable lumber via an air-drying method that takes about one year of drying time per inch of lumber thickness. With this method, a three-inch thick piece of lumber can take up to three years to dry before it can be used for building purposes. 

The new solar kiln will decrease the lumber drying from 12 months to one month, as well as further enhance the program’s curriculum with lumber milling and drying experience.

“Mahalo to Hawaiian Electric for supporting our mission to provide our Hāna youth a service-oriented, hands-on way of learning that builds self-esteem and valuable technical skills,” said Līpoa Kahaleuahi, executive director of Ma Ka Hana Ka ‘Ike. “With this new space, we can continue to expand the ways we teach the next generation to respectfully and purposefully use the abundance of special resources in our community.”

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