The distribution of solar lights to all households, partly as a gift to the poorest families with children, partly subsidized and partly on easy micro refit terms, brings lives from the age of darkness, to the age of light. With the growing demand for more energy, plans are in progress to establish a local solar energy project to meet all village needs. In addition, WIF has started school computer centres in three village schools and linked them to the Internet, allowing for connectivity to the global education highway and other opportunities. A village space training centre with English teaching and computer skills started in February 2018, with more initiatives to follow.
WIF has also distributed solar lights to students in villages bordering Thor Heyerdahl Climate Park. Their school performance has greatly improved after receiving the opportunity to study after dark. Income earned by their parents has also increased after using solar lights to continue work after sunset.
There is an urgent need for more solar lights and micro solar grids in Myanmar, due to its limited distribution of electricity, which reaches less than 30% of the population
From darkness to light
Community credit for solar lamps
Empowering disadvantaged neighbors in the global village to escape from the curse of darkness for a brighter life in the solar age.
Worldview International Foundation in cooperation with Worldview Myanmar started a pilot project in 2012 to test 16 different solar lamps for the purpose of identifying the most cost-effective lamp for disadvantaged families without electricity. In addition to testing available lamps in the market, Worldview also worked with solar lamp producers to develop new designs. 35 of the poorest families were selected by a village committee for the first distribution of lamps. The committee is also following up the micro credit on a voluntary basis, with repayment within 6 months from the cost saved by the recipients on expensive candle lights.
One of the significant benefits of solar lights is that they contribute towards children’s education as they are able to study during the night and prepare for their exams.
A brief evaluation of the project in April 2013 confirmed a positive impact of the solar lamps given to the 35 families. They are all very happy with the lights and express their gratitude. The lamps are a revolution in their lives, with free energy from the sun. They are able to work after dark and earn more money by producing handicrafts. Children can also study after dark. The school has recognized an improvement in the performance of children from homes with solar lights. Furthermore, the families save money as they no longer need to purchase expensive candle lights or kerosene lamps that pollute and increase the risk of fire.
As an extra contribution, several schools have been awarded computers with solar panels.
Experience from the pilot project has inspired us to take on a larger project, as simple solar lights has proven to be very effective in reducing poverty.