A meeting with Loi Lum's school principle
As this report title suggests, we are coming up to our twelfth month of fundraising in order to supply solar power to the homes and the school of Loi Lum Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp. In the past year we have tested solar lanterns in the community to find out which ones would be most suitable, received feedback from the residents in regard to their most pressing needs and maintained correspondence with the IDP camp. In recent developments, we had the pleasure of actually meeting and speaking face to face to Sai Tom - the school principle of Loi Lum who is helping us implement this project. He walked 6 hours, through dense jungle and up steep mountain slopes, to explain first hand to us the importance of solar lighting in his community.
“The residents have been waiting patiently since they tested out the last solar lanterns you brought us. They saw, from testing the device, what a difference it can make to their daily lives. The children could study after dark and the adults can continue to work on income generating activities without having to rely on expensive, dangerous and unhealthy kerosene lamps and candles”.
During this conversation, I felt the urgency in his voice. The residents of Loi Lum had been waiting approximately 10 months since they tested the solar lantern we provided them, I’m not sure whether I could maintain the same level of patience they have shown. Iona, the Executive Director of The Branch Foundation, and I knew we had to push the fundraising to a new level and become creative in our ideas to ensure that the this community in a remote region of Shan State, Burma, could once again experience the benefits of this clean, cheap and non-toxic renewable form of lighting.
We came up with the idea of ‘dinners by candlelight’ - a fundraising campaign to give our supporters and potential donors an idea of the conditions in which the residents of Loi Lum experience in their daily lives whilst also advocating the importance of the project. Lights are turned off and mobile phones ditched as people host dinners for their friends and family using only candles as lighting. We have received a huge amount of interest in this fundraising idea and have already had dinners held in the UK, USA and Thailand. We hope that the aim of this project inspires you to also host a dinner by candlelight, if so - click HERE for more information regarding this campaign. Please note that we are extending the deadline of this fundraising initiative until the end of November.
Tom Rosen and The Branch Foundation Team
Current condition in which the children study
A 'dinner by candlelight' hosted in Thailand