This year, the Interact service project will be donating to One Million Lights, an organization based in Palo Alto, California. One Million Lights’ mission is to improve the daily lives of children and adults by providing clean and healthy lighting. Their goal is to distribute one million (1,000,000) solar lights to replace dangerous and polluting kerosene lamps. Their first initiative is in the area of solar lighting, with a focus on education.
They provide clean, safe, affordable solar lighting to rural communities around the world through their international distribution programs, made possible by partnerships and donations. These solar lights enable children to study at night and adults to extend their workday, all while eliminating carbon emissions, improving household health, and greatly increasing income savings.
A major cause of burns and respiratory illnesses, kerosene is responsible for the deaths of 1.5 million people each year. With kerosene smoke inhalation equivalent to 4 packs of cigarettes per day, asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia and cancer are common in rural households. Worse, without light, clinics are unable to treat these severe illnesses except during sunlight hours. Kerosene is also most expensive in the rural areas that need it most, due to transportation costs. The costs of kerosene totals up to $36 billion and 190 million tons of carbon emissions per year. This is harmful not only to rural families, but to everyone living on this earth.
The solution is clean solar powered light. Solar light keeps air clean and lungs healthy. It also It enables doctors to provide medical attention at any hour of the night. Maternal mortality rates during childbirth decrease when light is available. Children with access to clean, safe light get more out of their education. Solar lighting in India nearly doubled childen’s study time and greatly improved school performance, by allowing children to continue school work after sundown. Kids in unelectrified communities could finally compete with their more urban peers, and give their community a chance for a prosperous future. The savings families accumulate from not buying kerosene affords families the food, clothing, and medicine they need to thrive.
See this video for more details.