What we do
Most orphanages have no mains electricity and very little money to buy kerosene for their lamps. The sun goes down at around so the evenings are very dark. In the orphanages we provide two basic home lighting systems, each consisting of a solar panel, rechargeable battery unit and four LED lights. That will provide lighting for the orphanage and, as a by-product, will mean that they can spend their money on food or books for the children rather than kerosene. There are health and environmental spin-offs too as burning kerosene is harmful to both. £140 will provide solar lighting for a whole orphanage.
The big problem for school-children is that after sunset there is no light for them to study and do their homework. To help with this we provide libraries of 15 stand-alone solar lights. The teachers can then give these to the children to take home and use. The next day the lights are returned, recharged during the day, and given to different children to use the next night. By providing children with lights we are giving them a hand up, not a hand out. We provide the lights, they have to do the studying. We have seen significant improvements in the end of primary school KCPE exam results amongst those who have lights. We monitor the average score for the class and note the scores of the top performers, who will almost certainly earn a place in secondary school. We light Up Lives.
£12 buys one light, £180 will provide a whole light library of 15 lights for a class. We often provide more than one light library because several classes have more than 50 children in them, sometimes as many as 100.
3. UK links
We would love to link schools in the UK with schools in Kenya. The Kenyan school children benefit so significantly from receiving the lights, purely because they are able to study in the evening and in the morning before school and are therefore much more likely to do well in their final exams and get into a secondary school. We feel that UK school children would have a lot to learn from the attitude and determination of their Kenyan contemporaries and could also make a significant difference in other children’s lives through fundraising. £180 would pay for a whole light library of 15 lights which would benefit at least 45 children per week.
The procedure for donating the solar lights is that the orphanages and schools apply to us in a set format giving information and photos and the trustees then decide which ones we can help.
So far we have given more than 500 Mwezi lights to schools and installed over 20 room lighting systems. We aim to more than double this in 2019.