Our lights help families to get out of poverty.
That is a bold statement but it is true. Our lights help in 2 main ways, by reducing spending on energy and by enabling additional income.
During our Tanzanian trails we have found that most families use about 1-2 litres of kerosene per light per week for lighting. This amounts to about $2 per week or $8/month, which is more than our light will typically cost and fuel prices are rising more and more. Therefore most families will earn our light back in one month, after which they will save a large portion of previous household costs every day.
How much is saved?
The included rechargeable batteries should last about 3 years (500 charges, each charge last about 2 nights) before they start loosing their power gradually.
They can then easily be replaced by new ones, after which the light will keep on saving costs for many years more.
By changing one kerosene lamp for our light an average family saves about $100/year. That might not sound much but it is typically a quarter to a third of total yearly income (see also: what $100 can do in Tanzania and poverty and electricity access).
This is one of the biggest and easiest jumps out of poverty possible. What would you do with one quarter more income?
Additional and new income:
Those that have money for kerosene need to get it, mostly on foot. Not having to walk for hours to get kerosene saves time that can be spent more productively.
Furthermore, due to the high costs of the kerosene, ‘light hours’ are normally limited to the most urgent tasks. With our lights, families can have light all night, offering opportunities to work at home or outside to generate more income or study for a better job.
Many shops are now able to stay open at night, generating additional income as many customers work during the day as well. Read more about additional income here.
Additional financial benefits:
Sometimes the simple solutions have the biggest impact. Note that most of the additional benefits of our lights -positive side effects- help to alleviate poverty even more:
- Additional safety (fewer robberies),
- Fewer house fires (destroying property and causing burns & deaths),
- Faster learning kids (lower school costs)
- Fewer health problems (lower health-related costs)
- Additional opportunities (new types of businesses)
Benefitting the national economies
And of course the countries as a whole will be richer due to spending less on burn victims and being less reliant on expensive foreign oil imports. Also many governments need to subsidize kerosene for lighting (while it is still more expensive for the users than it would cost in the western world).
Oil import dependency is generally high in developing countries, and it drains valuable hard currency. Governments must often provide large subsidies to consumers. Subsidised kerosene intended for domestic lighting sometimes finds its way into vehicles, which creates additional environmental consequences. (Evan Mills, 2002)
As much as 90% of the export earnings of some developing countries are used to pay for imported oil, most of it for power generation. Capital saved by not building additional large power plants can be used for investment in health, education, economic development, and industry. (SELF newsletter, 2002)
Dr. Wijaya Godakumbura has estimated that 40% of the burns in Sri Lankan homes are due to kerosene bottle lamps, that between 150 to 200 lives are lost each year, and that the cost of treating burn injuries is over 1 million dollars per year to the Sri Lankan government. (Shepherd, 2007)
That money is much better spent on education, infrastructure, housing and health care!
Click the images below for other direct benefits of replacing kerosene lamps by our Solar-powered LED lights:
- 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