Did you know over 1.5 billion people on Earth live without electricity? That’s over one-fifth of the population.
Lack of access to electricity is both a cause and an effect of poverty. We’d like to share a few awesome humanitarian projects that are helping out — using solar!
A Liter of Light
What’s the most affordable, easy to distribute, scalable and sustainable way to help people in remote areas or crowded city slums who have no light in the daytime?
It’s called the solar bottle lamp, and all it requires is a one-liter plastic bottle filled and sealed with bleach and water, which is then sealed in hole in the roof of the dwelling (cap side up). The water inside the bottle refracts and disperses the sunlight from outside, creating the equivalent shine of a 50 or 60 watt bulb.
This simple but profound light bulb alternative was invented in 2002 by Alfred Moser, a Sao Paulo mechanic who was fed up with a long cut in electricity service in his neighborhood. Since then, the solar bottle lamp design has been refined by a team of MIT engineers and is now the focus of Isang Litrong Liwanag — A Liter of Light— project.
A Liter of Light is based in the Philippines, where thousands of volunteers have illuminated life for many of its residents affected by poverty. The project is now spreading to other parts of the world. Check out their video:
Solar Lamps in Africa
In large parts of remote, under-developed, poverty-stricken Africa, people rely on kerosene to light their homes at night. Not only does kerosene give off poor light — which is bad for studying — it produces toxic fumes, poses a major risk for burns and fires and is incredibly expensive.
Not only do the solar lamps provide better, safer light using sustainable energy, they also help villagers save money normally spent on kerosene.
The money saved is then used to help set up incentivized distribution systems — a “business in a bag” which includes a start-up kit of inventory, training and marketing support. Distributors become their own bosses, creating sustainable businesses. It’s a win-win!
The Solar Suitcase
After witnessing countless women in desperate conditions delivering babies in African hospitals, Dr. Laura Stachel had a breakthrough.
She invented the Solar Suitcase — an low-cost easy-to-use portable solar power unit that provides health care workers with the electricity required for labor and childbirth.The kit contains a number of lights, battery chargers and low-power medical devices such as a fetal doppler.
So far, Dr. Stachel has sent the Solar Suitcase to 17 countries, and the demand for more is growing every day. Our very own RevoluSun team recently raised funds to purchase a unit for the Aloha Medical Mission, which provides medical services to underserved countries in the Asia-Pacific region.