Following on from Brave’s letter earlier this month, the SunnyMoney team in Malawi has recorded this short message of thanks – and a song about the SM100, which has helped them so much in these hard times.
If you missed Brave’s letter explaining the current situation in Malawi, which has left 6.5 million people with a lack with food, we’ve included it below for you to see.
If there is any way you can help us light up more lives this Christmas, your support would have a huge impact. A donation of £30 will fund the cost of 10 solar lights, meaning 10 families will be able to buy the food they need. If you can donate £60, 20 families will be reached and, if you like, we will also send you an SM100. Your donation will also be matched pound for pound (up to £50,000) by the Mohamed S. Farsi Foundation who have been supporting SolarAid for many years. So your donation will have twice the impact – two solar lights for the price of one! Please donate online now or see the other ways to donate below the letter.
Please donate online now or see the other ways to donate below the letter.
Read the PDF version of the letter
The full text from Brave’s letter is below
I’m Brave from SunnyMoney Malawi. First I’d like to say thank you for your support and interest in the work of SolarAid. I have seen the impact you have helped create, spreading solar lights across the country for the past 8 years. Now we are faced with our biggest challenge yet.
The drought this year has been severe and harvests have failed leaving about 6.5 million Malawians – over 30 per cent of the population – facing a lack of food. President Mutharika declared a state of national emergency earlier in the year.
Hungry minds can’t learn
People now have to focus on where their next meal is coming from. My work takes me across the whole country, from our beautiful Viphya Forest in the north to the breathtaking Mulanje Mountain in the south. The message is the same everywhere; people are starving.
Head teachers are telling me children cannot study because they are coming to school hungry and, when I am driving from one rural village to another, I see children on the side of the road selling rats for food to try and raise some money for their families.
Solar lights can reverse this situation by providing daily savings which families can use to buy food. But, because of the droughts, many more families have not been able to afford the up-front cost of solar. Instead they rely on expensive and toxic kerosene to light their homes at night. This is the reality for 15 million of my fellow Malawians.
Up until this year, the most affordable solar light was $10. This is a serious investment for families struggling on $1/day and, although the solar lamps pay back the investment in around 3 months, the up-front cost makes solar lighting out of reach for most families.
Introducing ‘The world’s most affordable solar light’
To help reduce the up-front costs of solar lighting we decided to develop a brand new solar light. Our aim was to produce a tough, durable, and reliable product which would sell for just $5 – making it the world’s most affordable solar light.
“The SunnyMoney” or SM100 is just as bright as a light double its price and lasts for five whole years. In September we successfully piloted the first batch of this new light and many families I have met over the years can now throw out their kerosene lamps for the first time!
I have seen lives transformed like this with a solar light and now we need to make the impact of the SM100 grow. Especially as there are predictions that our country will be hit by another devastating flood early next year – echoing the destruction of the January 2015 floods.
Can you help us increase the impact of the SM100?
Solar lights are at the top of most Malawian’s Christmas wish list, but we need your help to meet demand. Now that we have the SM100, we need to reach the most rural areas where the drought has caused the biggest problems.
A donation of £30 will fund the cost of 10 solar lights, meaning 10 families will be able to buy the food they need. It will give these families a chance to enter the new year with a sense of hope and optimism, and their children a chance to shine. Each light will provide one thousand hours of study, avert a tonne of CO2 and save a family over £145 over its lifespan.
If you can donate £60, 20 families will be reached. These little lights make great presents and provide an easy way to share the SolarAid story with your friends and family.
Your donation will also be matched pound for pound (up to £50,000) by the Mohamed S. Farsi Foundation who have been supporting SolarAid for many years. So your donation will have twice the impact – two solar lights for the price of one!
Thank you for your support. On behalf of SolarAid and the team here in Malawi, I wish you a very merry Christmas.