Lupita Nyong'o and Soular are providing study lights to children without electricity in Africa
September 23, 2016 at 10:44 am
Access to electricity is something that many Americans take for granted given its widespread availability. Sure, some of us might have experienced the inconvenience of our own private electricity service being disrupted during times of financial strain. But we could usually still rely on the electricity available at school, work, the library, or even a neighbor’s house in order to make sure that our homework was done. But for some children in rural Kenya, electricity is a luxury that often acts as a barrier to basic needs like education.
23-year-old Salima Visram understood this to be a problem early on, growing up in Kenya and witnessing children in nearby villages forgo their education because they lacked access to electricity. Her solution to knocking down this barrier comes in the form of the Soular Backpack. True to its name, the backpack makes use of solar panels to charge an LED light students can use at night to study and do homework. For every hour spent in the sun, students get 5 hours of light from the lamp. Visram created the first 2,500 backpacks after successfully raising $500,000 through crowdfunding and has already been distributing them in Kenya.
Our fave, Lupita Nyong’o, felt compelled to get involved when she heard about the backpacks last year after filming Queen of Katwe. She and Visram collaborated on a Soular Backpack distribution event in Katwe, Uganda — a place where only 20 percent of the population has access to electricity.
Here’s what Nyong’o had to say about the project:
“I think this project has the power to change the world and I would like to see it move worldwide… To see children take charge of their education and be able to support themselves in this very, very simple and practical way, I think is extremely powerful. Because when you give a child that kind of illumination, they can excel better in school because they have the power to educate themselves.”
For every bag purchased, Soular Backpack will provide one to a child in Africa for free.