I had the privilege of visiting Kenya this summer and meeting some of the people who’ve received solar lights as part of Afri’s partnership with Development Pamoja. I was amazed at the difference that a small and relatively inexpensive solar light can make to people’s lives.
In the company of James and Maasai from Development Pamoja, we visited many homes where the light was shining and were told of the benefits it had provided. For example, Christina Sote (see short video on our YouTube channel) uses it as a torch, if she hears rustling outside after dark, she can check to see if there is a snake about. She also uses it when she is cooking, to help her grand children when they are reading at night as well as to charge her phone, saving her a walk of many miles, which she used to have to do.
Likewise, 28 year old Judy Chelangat lives in the village of Lomolo with her eldest son, Matthew who has a disability. Judy says the solar light helps her to care for her children in the evening, helping with cooking and other chores. The solar panel also enables her to charge her mobile phone and to keep in contact with the local clinic regarding Matthew’s health.
We also met Oscar Kiprotich, who is thirty four years old and has suffered from multiple sclerosis for fifteen years. Oscar, who is wheel chair bound, lives with his mother and twelve year old niece Florence. The solar lamp allows Oscar to read in his bed in the evenings. It also enables him to assist Florence with her homework when she returns from school.
In the context of a world facing the threat of climate change, this is a small but significant way of positively impacting people’s lives, in a way that is viable and sustainable and provides an example for all of us – in our fossil fuel addicted society.