Back to all news

International Year of Light

2015 is the UNESCO International Year of Light, a global initiative highlighting the importance of light in everyday life and for the development of society.

To mark the official launch of the IYOL on 19th January 2015, SolarAid are asking supporters to take a few moments – whether just five minutes or an entire evening – to turn your lights off giving you a chance to reflect on the importance of light, and the many millions who struggle to access this basic necessity.

The opening ceremony will be held in Paris and our very own Linda Wamune from SunnyMoney Kenya will be up on stage as a keynote speaker amongst a very distinguished crowd of Nobel laureates and scientists. You can find out more here. 

In Africa, nearly 600 million people – more than the populations of the US, Mexico and Canada combined – live without electricity, often relying on toxic kerosene to light their homes. Across the globe, the numbers reach around 1.3 billion.

Credit: Rogelio Bernal Andreo IYOL gallery

How to get involved:

It’s easy, all you need to do is turn your lights off and pause to think. Or you could attempt a simple everyday task in the dark and send us in a picture of the results?

Send yours in and we’ll profile the best ones. Use the hashtag #InTheDark and our @SolarAid twitter handle or email them to [email protected].

Or why not go one-step further?

How about committing to live without electric light in your home for 5 days between 1st – 5th February? Do not touch that lightswitch; you’ll need stock up on candles, batteries for that torch in out in the garage, or you can get yourself one of our awesome solar lights here. The rules are up to you but we’d suggest no computers or TVs, that’s just cheating.

And don’t forget, any money raised will be DOUBLED by the UK government.

For those who want to spread some light a little faster:

On the flipside, to spread some light where it’s needed most, you can join the Speed of Light – this is our brand new platform that lets you to see on a map exactly where your donation will help families access clean, safe solar light. Click the link above to join Tom Moore, our very own Digital Manager’s community. And don’t forget to share your own unique link with your friends afterwards.

Credit:Earth Day & Night, NASA IYOL gallery

The gift of light:

Or if you can’t be bothered with any of that and just want to make a donation, please click here. Funds raised before the 5th February will be DOUBLED by the UK government, or the Honnold Foundation in the US.

To get an idea of what your donation will enable, please check out our Impact Calculator. Over its lifetime, just one solar light:

  • saves a family around $200
  • enables an extra 1,246 hours of extra study
  • means less risk of lethal fires and accidents
  • reduces toxic smoke that can cause chest problems and illness
  • saves up to half a tonne of CO2, as well as short-lived climate pollutants