Gift A Solar Lantern...Empower Rural Women & Girls

by Kukula Solar
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Gift A Solar Lantern...Empower Rural Women & Girls
Gift A Solar Lantern...Empower Rural Women & Girls
Gift A Solar Lantern...Empower Rural Women & Girls
Gift A Solar Lantern...Empower Rural Women & Girls
Gift A Solar Lantern...Empower Rural Women & Girls
Gift A Solar Lantern...Empower Rural Women & Girls
Gift A Solar Lantern...Empower Rural Women & Girls
Gift A Solar Lantern...Empower Rural Women & Girls
Gift A Solar Lantern...Empower Rural Women & Girls
Gift A Solar Lantern...Empower Rural Women & Girls
Gift A Solar Lantern...Empower Rural Women & Girls
Gift A Solar Lantern...Empower Rural Women & Girls
Gift A Solar Lantern...Empower Rural Women & Girls
Gift A Solar Lantern...Empower Rural Women & Girls
Gift A Solar Lantern...Empower Rural Women & Girls
Gift A Solar Lantern...Empower Rural Women & Girls
Gift A Solar Lantern...Empower Rural Women & Girls
Gift A Solar Lantern...Empower Rural Women & Girls
Gift A Solar Lantern...Empower Rural Women & Girls
Gift A Solar Lantern...Empower Rural Women & Girls
Gift A Solar Lantern...Empower Rural Women & Girls
Gift A Solar Lantern...Empower Rural Women & Girls
Gift A Solar Lantern...Empower Rural Women & Girls
Gift A Solar Lantern...Empower Rural Women & Girls
Gift A Solar Lantern...Empower Rural Women & Girls
Gift A Solar Lantern...Empower Rural Women & Girls
Gift A Solar Lantern...Empower Rural Women & Girls

In the central district of Vubwi, Eastern Province of Zambia, there is a busy market where people gather after work to buy their essentials. The only problem – there is no electricity in many parts of the market. This costs sellers hours of business and lost income as the market becomes busier as the evening goes on.

 

At one of the unelectrified stalls, Mkaika  sells fish and tomatoes. For Mkaika, business was tough. When she could afford it, she used to use a battery powered torch that gave off poor light and was costly, as it often needed new batteries.

“The other problem that came with using torches at night is that sometimes they could malfunction in the middle of business and I remember giving more money as change to customers because I couldn’t see properly enough to distinguish bank notes. I lost quite a bit of money.”

Mkaika is now using a solar light. She is able to work late, and doesn’t have to spend money on batteries anymore. She is able to keep her stall open later creating more opportunity to sell her goods.

 

“With a solar light, I am able to trade more hours at night which is good for my business. Before I started renting lights, I used to close my business as early as 5:30 pm” said Mkaika.

She also takes the light home at night giving her children the opportunity to study.

For Mkaika, a solar light means opportunity for herself and her children.

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Mwaziona is a 49-year-old woman from Chanje Village in Eastern Zambia. She and her husband, Tsilizani (57), rely on farming in order to provide for their 6 children. They grow maize, groundnuts, and sweet potatoes.

 

The Mwaziona family house is located on the edge of the village and looks over a beautiful landscape of farm fields descending into the valley.

There is no access to electricity in Chanje village. After the sun sets, it is pitch black. When Mwaziona and her family can afford batteries, they use a torch to light the house – but often, like many families in their village, they have to depend on straw fire to see at night.

“In the early years, we used straw fire. After the straw fire, we started using paraffin. From there, we started using candles. Then came torches. When the torch wears out, and we don’t have money, we use straw fire. Once we have found money, we go and buy a torch again.”

Straw fires are dangerous and many families experience accidents. In June last year, the Mwaziona family’s house caught fire when a child was left unattended and lit a straw fire in the house. “The fire accident happened when we wanted to get maize flour to cook. The fire fell on a sleeping mat and then ignited clothes. The fire grew through the clothes, and then it caught the grass ceiling on fire, because it was a grass thatched house. The whole house burned. We had to construct a new roof. We avoided the accident by rushing out. After that, once we had grown some crops, we sold them for some money. Thereafter we built this house.”

Mwaziona’s 17 year old son, Tamandani says,“The accident brought poverty in this house. Also many things became difficult, for example to buy flour. Because of the burning of the house when we see some people using fire, we advised them, ‘Do not use straw-fire, because that’s how we burned our house’.

Using straw fire is common in Mwaziona’s community where about one in four households are left to rely on open flames such as kerosene lamps, candles, and grass-fire for lighting. The majority of families use poor battery torches, but as batteries are expensive, open flames are often the second option.

“We started using torches. So, whenever we don’t have money, ‘Ohh I might get stranded without batteries!’ That is when we started using straw fire again. The torchlight was insufficient. Because of inadequate money, we bought a small torch that uses one battery. So how can it light the whole house? It is not enough. When we use a small torch, the battery lasts one day. A single torch battery lasts for one day.”

Mwaziona says,  “We lived in the dark maybe for a month when money was unavailable. Especially in the farming season when money is scarce. We started using straw fire again. It is troublesome. We know it’s a bad solution. We feel that it might bring problems again. It’s all because of poverty, when you don’t have anything, you end up doing something you are not supposed to do.”

“When we use straw fire, we feel very anxious. That’s why we still do that, but there are complaints inside our hearts.”

The sun sets at 6 pm in Zambia, year-round. When there is no access to light, the surrounding environment can turn dangerous. Road accidents are common, as are animal attacks.

 

With a simple solar lantern, families like Mwaziona are now switching from the use of straw fire, kerosene, and candle toa brighter light.

 

All thanks to you our all-weather supporters and donors.

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Just like in many villages across rural Zambia, life slows down as the sunsets. Without access to electricity, even the simplest of tasks become difficult. The small village of Kwenje in the Eastern Province of Zambia, where Dalitso, 13, lives with his parents and four siblings, is no different. After the sun sets, it becomes impossible for Dalitso to study and read, impeding his ability to realize his dreams for the future.

Just like his mum did, Dalitso dreams of becoming a teacher so he can help his parents and his relatives, “I want this job because I admire the way teachers do their job here at the school,”

Dalitso’s mum Emilia, who dropped out of school when she was young because her family couldn’t afford the fees, has the words ‘Dream Chasing’ written on her t-shirt. While she was unable to realize her dreams, she has hope that her children will have a future full of opportunities.

“I desired to be a teacher … If I went to school my life would have been different. I wouldn’t be living in this house. My dream now is to educate my children until they finish. I also dream of having a good house and some livestock.”

Because of your continued support of this project, you are helping children like Dalitso to remain in school and get closer to achieving their dreams.

You can power the dreams of students like Dalitso.

I invite you to help spread the word about our work to continue helping more people in the last-mile communities of Zambia.

Thanks for your continued support!

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… and you helped us create 6,500 in 2021!


Behind every single solar light that gets distributed in the Eastern Province of Zambia by our teams, there is a person whose life is about to change.


We hear these stories all the time. Students who can now study for exams that go on to attend university, parents who can now work after the sun has set and provide more security for their children. Families who can now sit around in the evening and get to know each other, women who feel safer walking after the sun goes down.


But behind every person that does not have light, there is also a story. A story of someone who has to inhale toxic fumes from kerosene, spend money on dangerous candles, or simply have their day cut short when the sunsets.


Last year in a village in rural Zambia, the community suffered an unimaginable tragedy. At the local school, a single candle was being used to study. This single candle caused a fire that took the lives of the twelve girls inside.


This one-story could have been a different one. Instead of a candle, the light used to study that night could have been from a clean, safe alternative – solar light.


That is why your incredible support towards our project is so important. Together, we are creating different stories. Those about lives that are positively impacted by solar light.


Thank you to everyone that donated towards our project last year. We raised a phenomenal $16,300. Every single solar light that we distribute has a story, and you helped to create 6,500 new ones.

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A 42-year old Taziona lives with her 5-year old daughter in a small house behind the main road in Kalichero village in the Eastern Province of Zambia. Kalichero is a beautiful, bustling village, but like the majority of villages in Zambia, there is no access to electricity. When the sun sets at 6 pm it gets pitch black and it’s difficult to see your surroundings. It quickly gets quiet, and for many people, the sense of security that the light brings fades as the sun is setting.

“I remember one night, I slept on a snake, I just felt something strange under my tummy, I immediately stood up and saw a snake right on my sleeping mat. That experience kept me living in fear at night and I used to have nightmares a lot,” says Taziona who remembers the nights before the family had access to solar lights.

 

 

In June 2021, Kukula Solar opened the energy hub Community Recharge Station in Kalichero, a place where people, at a small cost, could borrow charged solar lights to take home with them in the evening.

Since the Project was launched, our research has shown that one of the most positive impacts of access to solar light in the village has been the increased sense of safety and security. The lack of a sense of security in the darkness is related to worries such as traveling on the roads in the darkness, burglars, or animals coming into your house – but people are also concerned about accidents caused by unsafe lighting sources such as candles.

When there is no access to electricity, the majority of people living in rural Zambia are forced to use unsafe, poor quality, or toxic devices to get light in the evening.

 

Taziona used to use anything she could afford on that day to get light in the evening – sometimes, this would be candles. Other days, she would have no source of light in the nighttime at all. Since the project was introduced in the village, she has been using a solar home system that she is paying for on Rent to Own ( RTO)

“Life is easier now”, she explains. Her days are no longer cut short, and for her daughter, getting access to light in the evening means that they can stay up and play with their friends after the sun has set, and a group of children is gathering outside their house to play in the little light that the house is giving off.

Taziona is also able to help them with their homework in the evening. Grace loves school and she buys her second-hand books that they read together.

 

Taziona has a bright smile and she’s talkative and energetic, but she has been going through a difficult time since she separated from her husband, “I think solar lights replace the home security my husband provided before we separated. The girl and I feel safer.”

Now her hope for the future is that every household in Kalichero will have a clean source of light. “It’s a basic need,” she says.

And Taziona no longer has to worry about snakes. “All my fears are gone and I can sleep peacefully at night.”

 

This story is made possible by donors like you, who are helping Kukula Solar to bring life-changing products to last miles communities where people like Taziona.

Thanks for your continued support.

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Organization Information

Kukula Solar

Location: Chipata, Eastern Province - Zambia
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
Francis Mbewe
Chipata, Eastern Province Zambia
$18,328 raised of $100,000 goal
 
384 donations
$81,672 to go
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