Solar lighting for 600 Burmese Refugees - Thailand

by The Branch Foundation
Mar 12, 2013

And the results are in...

The community eagerly awaiting their solar panels
The community eagerly awaiting their solar panels

Over the past two weeks, our on-site Project Coordinator has been hard at work interviewing the residents of the Shan Refugee Camp, the community which you helped bring clean and green lighting to in 2012.  The interviews assessed how the solar panel project has affected their lives over the last year. 

We are very proud of the results, and you should be too. You are the ones who helped us make 'the world's first solar-lit refugee camp'! The project had three main objectives - to reduce fire risks in the thatched houses, allow the children to study after dark and to save the household's money. Camp residents previously spent high amounts on expensive candles and kerosene lamps. Here is a summary of what the residents had to say and the benefits of the project within the refugee camp:

  • 87 adults and 59 children directly benefitted from the solar lighting, totaling 146 people
  • Every resident said that they now don't have to worry about fire in their houses
  • All households with children said that the solar lighting had a positive effect on their children's education
  • Residents saved an average of 205 Thai Baht ($7 USD) per month by not having to buy candles etc.
  • Given a project success rating between 1 to 5, the households rated the project at an average of 4.6
  • The solar lights provided an average of 3.5 hours of lighting per night through all seasons of the year

Not only did the project achieve the objectives we set but it also allowed some residents to carry out other activities with the improved lighting such as weaving, embroidery and making thatched roofs at night. Many residents also mentioned an improvement in their health due to not having to breathe in the smoke from the kerosene lamps/candles.

Here are some quotes from the residents themselves:

Loung Kaw La (46 years old) - "I can see that my son's English is getting better as he reads out loud at night."

Nong Kam Kham (30 years old) - "I am very happy to be using solar lighting as my little girl was previously badly burnt from a candle and still carries scars. Thank you very much to The Branch Foundation and it's supporters. I can now save money and use it for different purposes. I have safer light for my children so I wish you a brighter life!"

Mae Tao Yen (75 years old) - "I have less headaches and bad smells in my house due to not having to use kerosene lamps."

One thing that was brought to our attention from reading the interviews was that some of the bulbs which came with the solar lighting pack did not last very long. Since hearing this information, we are committed to replacing them with light-emitting diode (LED) strips which not only last a lot longer but are even brighter!

You can see the faces of the residents and read ALL their opinions about the Solar Panel Lighting project by downloading the following documents.

Interviews Part 1 (5.7 MB)

Interviews Part 2 (6.4 MB)

As you can see, you really can make a large difference to the lives of people in this vibrant community. Please consider donating to our EDUCATION PROJECT in the same refugee camp. Remember that GlobalGiving is matching ALL donations by 30% on the 13th of March starting at 2PM GMT, making your donation go that much further!

Many thanks,

Tom Rosen and The Branch Foundation Team

Our favourite photo
Our favourite photo
Another proud owner of a brand new solar panel
Another proud owner of a brand new solar panel



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Organization Information

The Branch Foundation

Location: Chiang Mai - Thailand
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Iona Proebst
Auckland, Auckland New Zealand

Funded Project!

Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.

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