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Learning with light: how our solar lights connect young learners around the world

A young girl in La Union the Philippines studying with an SM200 solar light. Credit: Gabriel Mejia/One Million Solar Lights

At Namene Solar, we believe in the limitless power of solar to unlock opportunities for work, play and study. We’re connecting young learners around the world through the power of solar lights with our hands-on discovery classroom sessions. As part of our Schools Programme, we teach students about the life-changing power of solar light for off-grid families, where our lights replace kerosene lamps and give children limitless hours for study without harmful and expensive kerosene.

Today, there are almost a billion people who don’t have access to electricity. Many of these are school-age children who live in the global south, with only a few hours of daylight outside of their school times. These children often spend much of the few hours of daylight they have before and after school walking to school, doing household chores or fetching water and food. This leaves little time for them to study and do homework, which in many cases they have to do after sun down, in the dark.

Without electricity, young learners must rely on harmful sources of light, like kerosene lamps and open flame lighting. These poor quality light sources cause respiratory disease, eye irritation and a risk of fire. It’s a dangerous and difficult way to study that stops students from reaching their full potential.

But, a single solar light can make all the difference. From Zambia to the Philippines, Yemen to Namibia, our solar lights are helping school children learn after dark with safe, clean and high-quality solar light. Our Schools Programme uses our SM100 solar lights to teach students in the global north about the importance of energy access, and how solar has positive environmental and social impacts.

“Access to light is a universal need everyone understands, but not everyone appreciates or, on the other hand, can readily access.” Says Namene Solar Schools Programme Manager Francesca Shirley

“Namene Solar lights give students the opportunity to hold sustainable solar electricity generation and storage for safe, clean, bright light in the palm of their hands. Today, the world’s poorest households pay the highest health, social, and financial costs for the worst lighting quality from homemade kerosene lamps. Our Build-One-Give-One Namene Solar Light activity  for schools helps students learn how solar energy can tackle the root cause of this social injustice to combat global inequality and climate change.”

Students during a solar light classroom session.

Francesca was recently awarded the Visionary CleanTech educator award at the World CleanTech Awards for her work as Schools Programme Manager at Namene Solar. She has been carrying out workshops and hands-on sessions with students in International Schools teaching them about the science, technology and sustainable impact of solar light.

Our solar lights are distributed as part of our climate projects, which generate Verified Emissions Reductions from replacing fossil fuel lighting. We know that the lights are used to do homework by children living beyond the grid, which in turn helps them achieve their full potential in their studies.

In 2021, our buy-one, give-one solar light campaign for launch of our latest solar light Occa saw over 700 lights donated to charity partners in Kenya and South Africa, with almost 200 lights going to Get Ahead Schools in South Africa. “I use the light at night because I am afraid to sleep in the dark and the lamp lasts until I fall asleep.” 13-year-old Zenande Mdingi, a pupil at Get Ahead School says about her SM100 light. “I also use the light while doing my studies when there’s a power outage.”

To find out more about our Schools Programmes, download our brochure, our contact