Shedding light on Zambia
In parts of Zambia, once the sun goes down, people have no access to electricity and survive on kerosene lamps, candles and fires for light.
Only 20 per cent of people are connected to the national grid, but thanks to a Plan International partnership with Little Sun and Velux, thousands of solar lamps have been distributed to the communities that need them most.
In the slums of Lusaka, the Zambian capital, access to light is making a huge difference, no more so than at the Vision of Hope Safehouse – a shelter for vulnerable girls. One of the residents, 17-year-old Sandy says, “I can now read at night and do my homework, before we just had to go to bed when it got dark.”
Medical centres are also making use of the innovative lamps. At a rural health clinic nurse Bertha says that before she would deliver babies using just the light on her mobile phone. Now she uses a solar lamp when a woman goes into labour at night. The medical centre has also seen a drop in patients that have been affected by kerosene lamps, “we used to have a lot of patients in our clinic that had severe burns or had been poisoned by the fumes”, Bertha says, “but thanks to the lamps these numbers are dropping”.
As well as providing much-needed light, the lamps have also created business opportunities for young people in Zambia. Plan International has recruited 70 people to sell the lamps, who can each achieve a small profit through the sale of each lamp, allowing the vendor to buy more – creating a sustainable business.
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