The area where we work in Kenya is almost on the equator and therefore night and day have equal length all year long. This also means that it gets dark at about 6pm every evening. Unfortunately however, most people in the area have no electricity!
Families cannot live in the dark every evening - household chores need to be done, children need to be cared for, homework needs to be done - so they must find other ways of lighting their homes. Many use paraffin lamps, but these are far from ideal:
- Paraffin is expensive and eats into limited household incomes
- Burning paraffin releases toxic fumes which are especially dangerous in confined spaces (breathing these fumes is the equivalent of smoking 20 cigarettes per day)
- Paraffin lamps are dangerous - the risk of fire is high and many children have received serious burns
Another issue in rural Kenya is a lack of access to bank - and specifically ATM - services. Most people in rural areas do not have bank accounts - and even if they did, banks and ATMs are few and far between, so accessing cash is a problem. Therefore, mobile phones are used extensively in lieu of cash - they are used to make payments for all kinds of transactions (e.g. buying groceries, paying bills).
This is a great solution and it works well - but of course in areas without electricity there remains the problem of how to charge the phones! Some villages will have facilities where people can pay to charge their phones, but many people will still have to walk miles to access these charge points.
A single lamp is sufficient to light each home's living space. They allow children to do homework, mothers to cook and do other chores and everyone to enjoy reading. And they can also charge mobile phones!
Each lamp costs €20 to buy - we transport and install them ourselves. So, for a donation of just €20 you can provide a family with a clean and safe way of lighting their home. To make a donation, click here.
Salinah is a 67-year-old widow who cares for her 3 grandchildren. She provides for them by rearing sheep. The solar lamp allows Salinah to help her grandchildren with their studies and to charge her mobile phone which she uses to sell her sheep. She also earns extra income by charging neighbours a small fee to charge their phones.
Gideon and his wife have 6 children. Before now, the children used a paraffin lamp to do their homework and exam revision. The solar lamp means that they can now study without inhaling dangerous fumes and without the risk of a fire breaking out. It also improves the family's finances as they no longer have to purchase paraffin.
Judy is 28 years old and her eldest son Matthew has an intellectual disability. Judy and her family are internally displaced - they were moved to Lomolo village in a government program. The village of Lomolo has no drinking water and no electricity. The solar lamp helps Judy to more easily care for her children, cook and perform other household chores in the evenings. It also allows her to charge her mobile phone and to keep in contact with Development Pamoja regarding the health of Matthew.