You can significantly improve a child's life by providing light. Something so simple and taken for granted, but when a child does not have light at home by which to study, how can they be expected to succeed?
The idea is simple: provide the community of Egoli in Cape Town, where homes are not electrified and 5 taps provide water to 400 households, with a cheap, sustainable source of household lighting.
On the outskirts of the city of Cape Town lies Egoli, an informal settlement comprised of tin shanties and dirt roads. It is an area known for high unemployment rates, dismal sanitation, homes without electricity, and a lack of basic public services. This lack of development in such a large community stems from the end of apartheid, when people were just looking for a place to live and found this massive tract of unused land.
There's a problem though, as Egoli exists on private land with a less-than-savory owner who refuses to let the city build on the land and provide even the most basic of services. We hope to address the basic needs of Egoli in spite of these huge political barriers.
Our study abroad program has developed a relationship with Egoli over the past few years, and students from all over the United States have been coming together to empower the people there. Such projects have expanded a community center, built a library, expand water accessibility, provided school supplies, and picked up trash around the area.
Our project is simple: buy solar light jars to increase accessibility to sustainable lighting for households and students in the community. Several families in Egoli have been supplied these lights by an earlier group, and the community now asks for many more. They cost about $20 each, and we hope to purchase as many as possible. With your help, we can improve the quality of life for many children.
Students have no light by which to study. To complete work, they are forced to stay at school until it is dangerous to walk home, or go to a better-off relative's home, or try to read by candlelight. Students don't feel empowered to complete school and often drop out in high school. Even learners that want to do well have the odds stacked against them because they aren't able to perform in school.
A South African company called Consol (click here) makes solar light jars. Imagine a glass canning jar topped with a small solar panel and LED lights inside the lid. Families and children are able to utilize their simple design to illuminate large areas for zero additional cost, a huge benefit over candles. They are completely safe, eco-friendly, sustainable, and have been proven already to significantly improve light in a house. We will work with the community leaders to identify which households are most in need of this valuable resource, and we hope that this simple device can brighten the future for Egoli.
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