Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Help Kenyan Kids With Their Homework With Solar Lanterns - Through Tayasola

[UPDATE Dec. 23, 2013:  Here's a new post about where this project is today.]

E.F. Schumacher, in Small is Beautiful argued that foreign aid projects should be scaled to the needs of the receivers.  Giant projects are often inappropriate and costly while small projects fit the needs and capacity of the receivers. But a lot of foreign aid is just a way for American companies to get the US government to buy their (sometimes surplus) stuff and send it overseas.  Think of all the unfinished and/or unused projects in Iraq that have transferred billions from the US treasury into corporate accounts. Big companies aren't interested in appropriate technology.  But in many cases it's what will make a difference.  Like the this project I'm going to tell you about.

While we were on Bainbridge I met Alma Lorraine Bone Constable who's trying to set up a small business that will distribute small solar light kits to school children to use at night to do their homework.  (She gave me a kit to put together and it was easy.)  The solar lanterns would replace the kerosine lanterns now used, which in addition to needing costly carbon based fuel, aren't particularly healthy indoors, and they're a fire danger.

But they don't just get the kits, they learn about solar energy. They are encouraged to find other ways to apply the technology.  If you want to help with this go to Indiegogo and make a contribution.

I challenge you to watch the video chat I had with Alma.  Why do I have to say that?  Because people are in a hurry and it's easier to skip on to the next link.  But Alma's a person well worth meeting.  You'll find out how she got into this project. And when you finish the movie, I challenge you (again) to think about what surprised you, and what that means about how your first impressions can fool you - especially when there isn't enough time to get the information needed to correct them.

I should disclose that Alma's in a class that my son-in-law is teaching. That's why I know about this, but it  isn't why I'm posting this. It's just good stuff. She's now raising money at Indiegogo - a fundraising site like Kickstarter.

People are always saying that they'd like to help others in need, but they don't know how.  Finishing everything on your plate doesn't really help starving kids elsewhere.  But putting your movie popcorn money into solar lanterns does.

It won't disturb your lifestyle at all. It will just take a few minutes. You can help the kids with a small donation, a fraction of what you spend a month on your cell phone bill. And the kids in Kenya will be able to do their homework with sustainable solar lights that you'll have helped them get. Here's the link again to Indiegogo.

And you can even get a kit yourself if you donate at the right level.  

The organization Alma mentioned that first got her to Africa is Cultural Reconnections.  Norma, are you listening?


  1. Thanks for this. I added it to my Facebook page.

  2. It is so important to teach children about renewable energy. They are the future of our world.

  3. Thanks Lynne.
    Sika, hope you went to Tayasola's Indiegogo page and made a contribution.

  4. Dear Sir/madam.

    I hope these mail finds you well.BrightLight Energy Solutions ltd is a Kenyan Company working to contribute to green energy revolution in Kenya and the region by bringing to communities modern, clean energy solutions for home based lighting incorporating new technologies that will improve peoples' standards of living, health, better the environment and eliminate energy poverty burden.We are main Distributors of high quality solar lamps,solar powered DC Tv ,solar batteries,inverters ,solar panels and many more solar dc appliances in Kenya and E.A Region.

    We are humbly proposing to partner with your Organization to roll up a noble initiative intended to promote educational standards of pupils countrywide.In these program,we intend to provide portable solar lamps to school children and their families in rural areas that do not have access to the electrical grid. Teachers at the schools are to serve as contact points with the affected families in order to guarantee the success of the project.

    About 75% of all families in Kenya do not have access to the electric grid and during evening hours only kerosene lamps etc. are able to provide limited light. It has been observed that because a large number of Kenyan school children do not have access to electricity, they tend to use kerosene, lanterns, which exposes them to many hazards,moreover the output of some of these children, academically, is low since in the absence of good source of light, they are not able to do their homework and other out of school activities effectively.

    The introduction and use of our solar lamps would entirely eliminate these challenges school children face since having access to sufficient light opens up new freedom for learning, working and communicating, and is therefore an appropriate instrument for combating poverty.

    Why this?

    • Education of children improves with more opportunities to read and study
    • Awareness of the use of new environmentally friendly technologies increases
    • The use of kerosene and output of CO2 decreases
    • The health of children is less stressed and the risk of accidents diminishes.
    Our products are manufactured and sourced from South Korea,leading markets for solar technologies in the world.We guarantee you that we have capacity to supply you with solar lamps for your projects in Kenya and East Africa.We shall also offer free training to the beneficiaries of your projects to to ensure sustainability.No need of having to pay huge taxes on importation,its affordable to purchase from a local supplier.Our warehouse in Nairobi currently has over 40,000 solar lamps .

    The entire BrightLight Energy Solutions family is more than happy to partner with your Organization in lighting up rural Kenya with high quality solar lamps. I have herein attached a detailed product catalog of the solar lamps we distribute for your viewing.I will be welcoming your suggestions in regard to the same.

    Hoping to hear from you soonest.


    Kenneth Lamwenya

    Managing Director

    BrightLightEnergy Solutions Ltd

    Nairobi Kenya



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