Studying by the light of an LED bulb, Kayamulinga, Uganda.
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Imagine living without electricity. How would your life be different? Perhaps a better question is, “How would your life not be different?” In rural Uganda, not having electricity is common. Families that are relatively well off may have a generator that is run for part of the evening, but most don’t. Many schools have no electricity. Even batteries are hard to come by, because they are expensive for subsistence agriculturalists. And yet, students are motivated to study at night.
An article in The Guardian highlighted a project that uses gravity to generate enough electricity to power a small LED light that can be purchased for about $10, the cost of 3 weeks worth of kerosene. But even this is unattainable for many families, let alone students. The article suggests that many rural Africans are more concerned with charging their phones, which they use to conduct business, than producing light, given limited resources. At the Kukanga School, a One School partner, students charge phones for a fee using a solar charger purchased with funds donated by Bead for Life, and the money helps support their school.
In the meantime, students invent their own study solutions. In a boys dormitory near the Kyamulinga School, an early One School partner, single AA or AAA batteries are wired tenuously to LED bulbs hung above bunk beds, providing just enough light to get homework done or to study notes.
What would your kids do without electricity? Would they meticulously wire together batteries and bulbs, so that they could finish their math?
Boys dormitory, Uganda.
Reading light, Uganda.