The Family of Mama Atieno Has Hope For A Brighter Future

Mama Atieno and her husband John Odhiambo grinned broadly as they held up the recent addition to their modest thatch-roofed home in Oyugis, a village in rural Kenya. The source of their contentment? A simple solar lantern they were able to buy at a heavily subsidized price as part of a project by the US Peace Corps and the Nancy Ellen Crooks Foundation’s Lights for Learning targeted program for households with students.

It’s a small change that’s had a real impact on the quality of their family life.

Majority of families have no access to electricity

Thousands of families like the Odhiambo’s live without access to electricity in rural Kenya. Most families could only use expensive kerosene or cooking fire to light their homes for an hour or two, nightly. But as part of the NECF solar lights project, affordable solar lamps are reaching even the most remote communities, helping families like the Odhiambo’s save time, money and their health.

Solar energy makes life easier and healthier

Mama Atieno explained that by replacing the family’s nightly reliance on kerosene lamps, their solar light means they no longer need endure the regular two-hour walk on a steep rough dirt road to buy kerosene, or the inconvenience of an extinguished lamp or cooking fire on windy nights.

Nor do they suffer the chest problems associated with kerosene’s dirty smoke or awake with sooty, blackened faces. “Since we bought the solar light my husband and kids don’t have tight chests like before – or have to wash the soot from kerosene smoke off their faces when they wake up,” Mama Atieno added.

However, as she further explained over the din of boisterous kids and chicken in her compound, it is the financial benefits of their solar light that has really made the biggest difference for their home. By saving the money they previously had to spend on kerosene, they have relieved a huge burden on their meager household income from John’s part time job as a security guard at the local school. Indeed, since they bought the light several months ago, John assured us they had already recovered the light’s cost in savings – a claim supported by an exuberant cheer from his wife.

After the children in their bright blue shirts dashed off to their rural school for afternoon lessons, their parents explained that the kids’ enthusiasm for the light also stems from the fact that they are one of the chief users of the lamp on school day evenings. They are now able to do their homework without straining their eyes and sitting beside a smoky dim light like they did before the NECF program made solar technology available.

You have helped change the lives of the Odhiambo’s. Thank you so much!