Solar lights have been part of ShelterBox’s offerings to families who have been affected by conflict or natural disaster for years now, but we learned during a Monitoring and Evaluation trip to the Philippines how they contribute to a family’s livelihood.
LuminAID was founded by two design students to develop a solar-rechargeable light that is waterproof, lightweight, and inflates to diffuse light like a lantern.
This new technology was of interest to ShelterBox because it is compact, high energy efficient and ease to use. Further, it limits the use of natural fuels for lighting and other resources that can be critical to survival after a disaster.
Since the first distribution of LuminAID lights following a typhoon in the Philippines in 2013, the relationship has grown to become a true strategic partnership.
For more information, visit LuminAID.com.
How families use solar lights
Workers who are lucky enough to have an artificial lighting source can work all the way through the night, but severe weather events like Tropical Depression Usman, which struck the Philippines in late December, can sweep away everything, including flashlights and lanterns.
For families who did have access to flashlights or lanterns, ShelterBox’s solar lights replaced a valuable source of work. And families who previously had no source of portable light now have an additional way of earning, making the critical months after a major natural disaster just a little bit easier: Laborers can earn more by working on their copra production through the night.
We’ve also heard that our solar lights save money in other ways: families who don’t have electricity use kerosene lamps ordinarily, to the tune of 10-20 peso (20-40 cents) each night. But our solar lamps, which can stay lit for 12-14 hours at a time, cost nothing, so long as families remember to keep them charged.