Imagine how much less you would get done, if you couldn’t just flick on the light switch when it got dark. This is the challenge facing the one in seven people around the world who lack electricity. Some of those worst affected are school children.
How electricity supports literacy
Dhanmaya* is a 14-year-old from Nepal. She’s determined to do well at school, so she can become a social worker and help vulnerable children. In the past, she struggled to complete her homework, as she had to stop studying when it got dark at 6pm. But today, thanks to a micro-hydro electricity project set up by Tearfund’s partner, her house is well lit. ‘We can turn on the light whenever we want to study,’ says Dhanmaya, whose grades have gone up considerably!
Amos* (10) and John* (7) are brothers who were in a similar situation to Dhanmaya. They live with their parents in rural Tanzania. They love school – it’s their chance to progress and build a good life free from poverty. But, until recently, they had no electricity, and it was just too dark to practice their reading and writing after school.
Through the self-help group started by Tearfund’s local partner, Amos and John’s parents were given a loan to buy a solar panel for the house. This has made a huge difference to the family, especially the boys!
‘Before we had solar, we couldn’t study in the house in the evenings because the light was gone. Now we have light, life is getting better,’ says Amos. ‘I want to be a doctor. Having solar light will help me to fulfil my dreams.’
Amos and John’s parents are benefiting too. Their mum, Rachel, can now sew in the evenings, making clothes to sell in their village. This has almost doubled the family’s income.
Let there be light
With more than 1 billion people worldwide lacking access to electricity, we are calling on the World Bank to invest more in off-grid renewable energy sources like solar and micro-hydro to benefit the world’s poorest people.
Not only will this enable more children like Dhanmaya, Amos and John to study, and parents like Rachel to provide for their families; it will help farmers produce bigger harvests, make streets and communities safer at night, and increase the productivity of small businesses.
To stand with children like Dhanmaya, Amos and John this International Literacy Day, please sign our Lighting up the darkness petition to call on the World Bank to act.
You are the God of light, the God of love, the God of all goodness. Today we think of those people around the world who have no light; people who are suffering under the darkness of injustice, oppression and poverty. Help us Lord, as your church, to spread your light around the world.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.
(Prayer taken from Tearfund’s current church resources)
*Names changed to protect identities.