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
"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.