By Dennis Imaan, Consultant for SunnyMoney Malawi
More than 280 students attend Kapiri Community Day Second School, located in Dedza district near Lake Malawi – an area home to Malawi’s renowned Child Marriage Terminator, Chief Theresa Kachindamoto.
SolarAid, through SunnyMoney Malawi, sees the impact of bringing light to communities living without access to electricity. Through its school campaigns, teachers see the benefits of owning a solar light and usually take stock to bring back to their communities to encourage local families to buy.
The goal is to reach everyone with the world’s most affordable solar light and pay-as-you-go options, but there is a problem. Families living in the most disadvantaged communities, like Kapiri, still cannot afford this light.
Families with children who attend school are especially too poor to buy a solar light that costs 5000 Kwacha (about £5). In Kapiri, the Head Teacher, Mr. S. Mwale, told us that survival is hard, so some people cannot afford a candle.
We wanted to contribute to education in Malawi by helping students extend their reading time. We cannot just gave the solar lights away. This would damage the local market and discourage enterprise. As a result, these families would remain in complete darkness. In this remote area, in the evening there is nothing more the students can do apart from go back to sleep.
SunnyMoney therefore decided to bring a Light Library to Kapiri. Students pay only K25 to borrow a light for one night. This system saves them K300, which they otherwise would have been forced to spend on small batteries for torches that would only last a few days.
We believe these lights will help in creating a positive impact in the academic performance, health, environment, finances and safety of the students.