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Youth Challenge launches the Kiran Sola Lait

Press Release – Youth Challenges Vanuatu

Kerosene lamps have become a key contributor to indoor air pollution, which claims the lives of 1.5 million people each year, over half of which are under the age of five according to a Millenium Development Goals Report. Kerosene lamps also caused …Youth Challenge launches the Kiran Sola Lait

Kerosene lamps have become a key contributor to indoor air pollution, which claims the lives of 1.5 million people each year, over half of which are under the age of five according to a Millenium Development Goals Report. Kerosene lamps also caused deaths by suffocation, poisoning and fatal fires.

There is a better and cheaper way!

Costing just Vt1500 the “Kiran” sola lait aims to light up the lives of the 1.6 billion people in the world who live without access to mains electricity, relying instead on dangerous and dirty kerosene. The Kiran is now available for sale in Vanuatu at Youth Challenge thanks to an AusAid funded programme called ‘Lighting Vanuatu’.

Mr Goldman started the company that makes the Kiran Sola Lait when working as a US peace-corps volunteer in west Africa.

“I would lie at night in the village, looking up at the stars, and thinking how crazy it was that there were satellites up there orbiting the earth when down on the ground we were still sitting in the dark”

The light, which used LED technology that consumes 90 per cent less power than a traditional light bulb, is 4 times brighter than kerosene.

A recent study in Bangladesh showed that household incomes rose by 30pc as a result of access to reliable solar light. A similar study in Gujarat India found a remarkable improvement in schoolchildren’s performance when they had access to solar lighting.

“I was a fervent anti-capitalist at the time, but I came to realise during my four years in Africa that government and NGOs were having little or no impact. It was businesses that were really changing lives, delivering technologies like mobile phones, computers and the internet”.

D.Light the maker of the Kiran has already sold 600,000 solar lights worldwide, but hopes that the price and quality of the Kiran will enable it to sell as many as 100 million in the next decade.

“Vanuatu was the fastest growing country in the world for mobile phones, we think it can be the same for these solar lights” said Youth Challenges Ms Samson, “with the Kiran lait we could eliminate dangerous kerosene in Vanuatu homes in 3-4 years”

But just as the spread of mobile phones was helped along by new business models, such as pre-paid credit and cheap phones, new approaches are being used to help spread these lights.

Youth Challenge is supporting local entrepreneurs who are buying the laits by the box full to take back to the islands for Christmas and sell for a profit. “In this way we are moving beyond charity and clean cheap lighting is getting to rural Vanuatu,” said Ms Samson.

“We are providing an inexpensive form of lighting to people throughout the country, and the youth at Youth Challenge Vanuatu are gaining valuable business skills which will help them grow into Vanuatu’s next generation of entrepreneurs” said YCV’s Country Director Sandra Moore.

“There are other solar lights out there, but they are typically far more expensive and far poorer quality than the Kiran,” said Ms Samson “for example, they have detachable solar panels, but the Kiran’s is built-in. They are fragile, but the Kiran can be dropped from a height of two metres.”

Other design features include the ability to hang the Kiran like a kerosene lamp” and, for those with some access to power, you can charge the light from the mains with a normal Nokia phone charger.

“Lack of access to energy – just as lack of clean drinking water – is a cause of poverty, not just a result of poverty” said Ms Samson “In communities on the islands, solar energy has the power to transform lives.”

ENDS

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