Empowered by Light - 250 Laterns donated August 09 2011

We're proud to support Empowered by Light in their mission to bring solar lanterns to rural western Zambia. Their goal of promoting renewable energy and allowing children to study at night really struck a chord with us. The lantern they chose get's fully charged with a half a day in the sun and generates enough energy to light up a small room through the evening and charge a cell phone. It was amazing to see just how many cell phones were around. With the average person being a subsistence farmer living on less than a dollar a day you would think that cellphones would be a luxury item only available to a privileged few. Not the case, nearly everyone had one! And they're really a revolutionary tool used connect villagers, promote employment, communicate crop prices, access mobile banking and get the daily news.

It was great to see children studying at night and experience the gratitude from underserved clinics as they excepted our donations.

The trip also brought about the realization of the need for Zambian entrepreneurs to create a rural solar market. If they can get coke, candy and tea biscuits into every far-off dusty corner of the country they should also be able to make available these life-altering solar products. For a family living with no electricity, they can expect dangerous and polluting kerosene lamps and frequent miles-long trip to town centers to charge phones. This $20 kit is such game changer. And the ROI is something like 3-6 months considering the average expenditure on kerosene and cell phone charging.

We feel great about helping to seed schools and clinics with solar laterns and are hopeful that it will bring about more wide-spread and self-sustaining solar adoption as the community sees the benefits and impact.