Worldwide, children tend to be early adopters. They understand technology, they embrace change, and they accept versatility. And yet, often we leave these ‘early adopters’ unadopted. At the Elshaddai Orphanage in Kenya, twenty five children ages 6 months to 17 years old are excited about their hopes and dreams for the future despite being orphaned and living in semi-impoverished conditions.
One of the harshest conditions that these children face is darkness. According to the Elshaddai blog, “After sunset, since we only have 2 kerosene lamps, children eat in the dark courtyard with their hands.” These children look forward to their mealtimes and playtime but it becomes difficult and often saddening in the darkness or under the light of thick kerosene fumes. The orphanage recently adopted a new technology to improve the lives of the children who now call Elshaddai their home. The life-changing technology? Solar light bulbs.
Normally a quiet group of children, they were no longer quiet after receiving recently donated solar lights. A donor explains, “The girls were so excited to have light as they cut the vegetables, and were laughing and joking. The kids are all so happy as they go to bed with light in their rooms, and were singing and talking rather than quietly going to bed in the dark.”
One child, Benjamin, is sixteen years old and was recently accepted into school. Everyone at his orphanage celebrated alongside Benjamin as he talked about his dreams to “help other needy children.” With safe, clean, solar lighting at the orphanage this may be more of a reality than a dream for Benjamin and other orphaned children who try to study at night.
As the United States continues the US-Africa Summit under the direction of President Obama, we must remember the importance of powering Africa on even a small level. Nokero works with partners like the Elshaddai Orphanage to place independent energy within individuals’ hands. Safe, affordable lighting can create access to better healthcare, increased educational opportunities, safer cooking conditions, and a sense of empowerment and possibility among African youth. Steve Katsaros talks more about the importance of energy throughout Africa, and why business is essential to the growth of Africa, in an interview with KCWR 89.9′s Madeleine Brand. Click here to listen to the full interview.