Let there be light: A hand-made solar lamp from Uganda

Charge me up!
John Timmer

Last week, I got notification that there was a package waiting for me at our corporate headquarters in Times Square. The customs declaration announced that it was a solar-powered lamp. That on its own didn’t surprise me. A variety of organizations have been promoting these as indoor lighting for places that aren’t on the grid, and I’d covered just how significant the health benefits of this lighting can be since it would displace fuels that create lots of indoor air pollution.

But opening the package brought a rather unexpected surprise. There was a solar lamp inside, but it wasn’t the sort of thing that I’d expect from a large aid organization. It was clearly made by hand, with rough edges in its white plastic and the On/Off labels stuck on with adhesive. The letter that accompanied it told an interesting tale. Its manufacturer, Simon Lule, was making these himself in a workshop in Kampala, Uganda, selling them for the price of about two months’ worth of kerosene, the fuel of choice in the area.

Simon was raising awareness of his work after launching a fundraising campaign hoping to buy some equipment that could injection-mold the plastic. And he was hoping that an article on his work would raise the profile of his campaign.

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via Ars Technica http://ift.tt/1jAVm74


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