The problem: kerosene lamps
Light at the equator: kerosene lamps
You live in a place near the equator. The climate is nice and your bananas grow well, but due the latitude it gets dark at around 6pm/18.00 hrs. And pretty fast as well, there is hardly any twilight as many people that live at higher latitudes know it. Here, it is like a light-switch has been turned off: within a few minutes it is dark. Pitch dark.
In the western world, you would hardly think about this. Just touch the light switch and you can do whatever you want, you have defeated the darkness.
But you are one of the nearly 2 billion people that have no access to the electric grid. There are no light switches in the entire village.
So, instead, you take a match, grab one of your home-made kerosene lamps and light it. Problem solved.
Where did the kerosene come from?
As you use several litres of kerosene per week, and you have no transport, you need to ask your husband for money, always resulting in friction and sometimes fights.
He has to work hard for a full day for that money and though he agrees we need it, he gets frustrated as his hard-earned money will go up in flames soon.
The money is about 25% of your total budget for the week and you would rather have spent it on your daughter’s school fees.
But she can always stay at home so that at least your son can stay in school this year. Next year you will think about what to do with him.
You wanted to sell some bananas today, but don’t have time as you need to walk for several hours to actually be able to buy enough kerosene for a few days of evening light.
After waiting in line, you walk several hours back, carrying the heavy container on your head. Don’t spill it as kerosene is not only expensive, but also non-volatile: if you get it on your skin or clothes, it will create irritation and the smell won’t go as it does not evaporate like gasoline.
Effects on your family
As every kerosene lamp provides a little light, you have to choose: one of your children can study or you can do some work that you missed during the day.
Whoever is the lucky one will start coughing within minutes as the toxic fumes enter their lungs.
Meanwhile headaches make any studying very hard and soon your son gives up and tries to clear his head. At least he does not have lung cancer as several of his classmates do.
While dizzy and gasping for fresh air yourself, you stumble against the table. The home-made kerosene lamp moves, but does not fall.
In your village at least 5 houses have burned down last month, due to kerosene lamps accidents. Falling and leaking lights and tables catching on fire while lighting the lamps in the dark after a refill of kerosene.
This time you are lucky, but your vision is getting blurry again and the irritation might turn into a blinding cataract. Maybe next time you won’t be able to see the table at all and you will end up with burned arms like your sister, unable to cook for your family.
Maybe you should not bother at all with lights, your kids can drop out of school like you did.
But you also know that the thieves have cat-eyes and always pick the dark houses, so they can steal without being seen.
You have nothing of much monetary value, but you want your family to be safe healthy and prosperous.
You want to be what every other mother in the world wants to be: a good parent for your kids, making their future brighter than your past.
- Read more about the 4 aspects of kerosene lamps that cause fire risks
- Read more about our solar-powered LED light that can replace the kerosene lamps.
- 1 Alleviate poverty Reduce poverty by saving 25% of household costs!
- 2 Health benefits removing toxic and dangerous kerosene from households
- 3 Prevent fire hazards Kerosene lamps are leading cause of house fires
- 4 Enabling education Students can study better & longer, more money for books
- 5 Save our planet Stop global warming, deforestation and pollution
- 6 Increase income Light at night can create additional income streams
- 7 Empowering women LED lights create a brighter future for women and girls
- 8 Empower communities Light generates joint income, offers new possibilities
- 9 Increase safety bringing light in houses and community
- 10 Solar education Teach students and entrepreneurs about solar