Yearly Goal to Light Up 12 Homes - As of December 2017, a total of over 90 solar kits were installed in family homes of Rwanda and Kenya. All families live in remote villages where public grid is not an option; and even if it was available they can’t afford it. None of these who received solar kits have a paying job. They were overwhelmed with joy of having a modern light bulb in their homes. They described the light as manna from heaven because having electricity in their homes is something they never dreamed of. Obviously they did not miss what they didn’t know. They all say the light bulbs are bright enough and they can run the lights as many hours as they want during the night.
The solar electricity eliminated not only the cost associated with a kerosene lamp and charging cell phones, but it presented and additional and profound unintended benefit. For example, one single mother said that solar electricity has elevated her status in the community. She is proud to be one of the two families with solar electricity on the whole village. Members of her community count on her for charging cell phones and children from neighbors come to study at her house.
I Saw the Light — “My name is Musabyemariya. I was born and raised in Rwanda and currently live in the state of Washington. When I was growing up daily routine for my siblings and I was to pick firewood, fetch water, and look after cows. We could only do schoolwork on weekends during day time. It was also a common practice to eat evening meals under moonlight to economize on firewood or kerosene. Until today my hometown is still off-grid. Now I feel lucky to be in America and experience what it means to have electricity. Two years ago, my husband helped my family to get connected to a solar power system. This was the beginning of his passion for affordable and cleaner energy for rural Africa. Recently, one of my sisters reminded me of the moonlight, firewood smoke, kerosene lamps, and sore eyes that were once a part of our daily lives, but solar electricity has changed that. We no longer have to worry that darkness will put an end to evening schoolwork. Most importantly, no more sore eyes and headache from the fumes. In Rwanda, we have sunlight all year round to charge battery banks. My parents now save money since they no longer have to buy kerosene and batteries for my dad’s radio. Walking long distances and paying to have cell phones charged is also a headache of the past.”