Solar Sister Girls' Empowerment Program

 
$3,340
$6,660
Raised
Remaining
Aug 21, 2012

I Am Proud to Be A Solar Sister

Solar Sisters!
Solar Sisters!

There is no better advertising campaign than a happy customer. Meet smart, sassy Mary Akurut who shares the benefits of Solar Sister, both as a customer and a Solar Sister Entrepreneur.  Providing light, hope and opportunity to her community, Mary's enthusiasm for the clean energy technology is infectious. 

Mary is a shining example of the empowered young women that Solar Sister recruits, trains and supports throught the Global Giving Girls' Empowerment Program. She is thriving as a young woman entrepreneur and has developed a business that provides tangible benefits to her community. Being a Solar Sister is more than just earning income, it is membership in a wonderful community of support and an opportunity to be involved in something big!

In this video, you can see the natural leadership qualities that Mary brings to Solar Sister, and hear from her how our program has helped her grow.  Solar Sister has developed 177 Entrepreneurs, at least 50% of them are young entrepreneurs who will become tomorrow's leaders.  Through your support, the Girls' Empowerment program can empower more young women like Mary to succeed as entrepreneurs and community leaders.

"This is about helping women and girls start their own enterprises and learn skills that no one can take away from them." - Sarah Kasule, Director of Mother's Union/Solar Sister partner.

Watch the video and get inspired!

Links:

May 16, 2012

We Can Do It!

Technology training
Technology training

The hallmark of a great engineer is the love of taking things apart and putting them back together again, learning how things work by tinkering and experimenting, problem solving and creating.  It is this “We Can Do It” attitude that the Solar Sister Entrepreneurs bring to their advanced technical training classes to become expert solar engineers. One of the stars of the most recent training program is Eva, Director of the Maranatha School and mentor of the Girls Empowerment program in Mityana.

With the advanced training Eva can now provide full sales and after-market service for the solar business.  Her ability to replace batteries and fix the common problems caused by using technology in rough environments gives her customers confidence in their investment in solar.  As she can attest, good sales depend on good service. As a leader for the program in Mityana, Eva can share her new skills with the team and help the girls become more knowledgeable and gain technical skills.

During this training session, which was held in Solar Sister’s headquarters at the Hub Kampala on a beautiful day in May, women traveled from across Uganda to take part and increase their technical skills.  The women were selected based on their potential as Solar Sister Entrepreneurs and as a reward for growing their local businesses.  Through their business success, the women have become leaders in their communities and serve as role models to demonstrate that women can be tech savvy entrepreneurs.

We believe it is so important to offer skill training as well as opportunities to use those skills. These young women are fearless learners. They ignore the common attitude that women are not technically adept or suited to business and forge ahead to become experts in the technology and build thriving businesses. I truly believe that their grass-roots knowledge of local needs combined with the training and support that they receive from Solar Sister, they are the best ‘last mile’ distribution sales team in the world for clean energy technology.

They are evangelists for clean energy solutions as a way to help people in their communities break out of the cycle of energy poverty. Replacing the toxic kerosene with clean, safe, affordable solar light has tremendous impact on education, health and productivity.  With light and electricity, families have the fundamental tools to powerfully transform their lives. Solar Sister Entrepreneurs are bringing light, hope and opportunity to their communities with access to clean energy.

Links:

Jan 9, 2012

Solar Sister Update - Jan 2012

This morning I opened my email to receive the most heart warming New Year's greetings from one of our Solar Sister Entrepreneurs. I am sharing it here with you because it so beautifully sums up the purpose of Solar Sister and joyfully expresses: "Why I do what I do".
 
First, some background: Zuura Muhindo began working with Solar Sister over a year ago.  She is a health care worker with extensive experience working in the unelectrified rural clinics in her home district in Western Uganda, near the border with Democratic Republic of Congo.  When we first met, she had decided to pursue a nursing certificate and she was introduced to us when a paper that she wrote for a class at nursing school in Mukono highlighted the difficulties of providing maternal and infant care without access to electricity.  Zuura's teacher recommended Zuura to us and with a small investment in training and seed capital for an initial inventory, Zuura became a Solar Sister Entrepreneur.

Watch Zuura's own account of her reasons for becoming a Solar Sister in this video:
 
 
Last year, Zuura sent us a letter that explains:
 
"There is no power or light at that health centre at all.  They have two paraffin lanterns, but when they run out of paraffin, no procedures are performed at night and the mothers who come to deliver at night do not get good care.  Monitoring a mother after delivery tends to be hard in the dark."  

Through Solar Sister, Zuura has been able to bring light to her home clinic as well as access for solar lamps and solar cell phone chargers to members of the surrounding community.  Both in the clinic setting and in daily life, access to light and connectivity are life saving technologies.

Zuura has also been an important contributor to Solar Sister's success. She has introduced the program to other women and been a leader in recruiting other nursing students to the Solar Sister program.  Her success is particularly meaningful as she is a mother of two beautiful daughters who are watching her build a life of opportunity and meaningful work while earning the money to meet the family's needs.

I admire Zuura for her determination and grace.  It is not easy to be a mother, a student, and an entrepreneur all at the same time.  Anywhere in the world this is a challenge that requires sacrifice and hard work. I am honored that Solar Sister can play a small part in Zuura's success.

Simply put: I can offer no better explanation of why I do what I do than this gracious note from Zuura.  To all of you who have helped Solar Sister in 2011, know that this note is meant for you too.  I can only humbly add my own thanks for the support you provide that allows Solar Sister to provide light, hope and opportunity to women like Zuura, their families and their communities.

Dear Katherine,

 This is Zuura wishing you a happy new year 2012. Greets from my family and greet your family too tell them that we love them so much. We are still going on strongly with the Solar Sister.

 Alice and I are doing fairly well with the business and so far our clients are happy with the lamps. We sat for our final exams late December last year and if at all successful, were are faced with the internship which shall last for one year. But all the same this can not stop us from the business.

 So far one of my achievements in the Solar Sister is that I was able to pay all of my course works in time from my commissions. I am grateful for being a Solar Sister.

 Thank you.

Zuura

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Organization

Solar Sister

Bristol, NY, United States
http://www.solarsister.org

Project Leader

Katherine Lucey

Bristol, RI United States

Where is this project located?

Map of Solar Sister Girls' Empowerment Program