Preparing for exams can be one of the most nerve-wracking times in any student’s life, but the difficulty is even greater when students don’t have access to the resources they need to perform at their best—as I witnessed on my recent trip to the region. With no source of light at home to help them study, I watched as nearly a dozen students gathered to review for an exam under a tree on a cold dark night. Armed with the only solar lamp available locally, and covered in blankets to ward off the chill, these students demonstrated their dedication to learning despite the odds stacked against them. For children like these, education is a priority, yet they struggle to find the proper time and space to nurture their minds.
This experience–as well as the larger energy problems that East Africans are facing–prompted ARAHA to begin its Solar Light campaign. ARAHA is striving to make solar lamps available to families who live off-grid in the Horn of Africa. These lights provide a renewable, inexpensive source of energy that can charge during the day and be used at night. For students, this new resource means they will be able to study in their homes at night, after long days spent at school and work, without resorting to the expensive and unhealthy option of burning charcoal or kerosene. But the benefits of solar lights don’t stop there.
East Africa is one of the regions that is subjected to some of the harshest effects of climate change, and one of the adaptive strategies recommended by scientists and economists is to expand its access to clean energy sources. Yet refugee camps and rural areas in the Horn region are still heavily reliant on charcoal and kerosene–energy sources that cause pollution, start house fires, and produce harmful fumes that children and their parents breathe in whenever they need light after sundown. These types of fuel are not only damaging to health and the environment, they are also becoming more expensive as deforestation spreads and the demand for energy increases throughout the African continent.
With each solar light a family receives, the dangers of traditional fuel sources are removed and the Horn of Africa takes a step closer to a clean energy culture. With only $50, You can provide a solar light for a family that can last for five years. That is exactly the kind of donation that generates a beneficial chain reaction–children are able to study more productively and improve their education, parents need not worry about fire hazards or the cost of buying more fuel, and overall pollution levels drop. We urge you to help light up the Horn of Africa with as many lamps as you can sponsor. With your support, many more families may live a brighter life with clean, healthy light in the Horn.