Which group of children have greater potential? It’s a trick question, of course; they are the same children, with the same exceptional potential. The only difference is those on the right have a very simple tool that illuminates it. This tool is an absolutely brilliant solar paneled LuminAID lantern, and it is a beacon of empowerment that will change the trajectory of a child’s education, and improve the health, safety, and food security of their families.
The primary population Words in Action serves in Qui Croit, Haiti, has no electricity. More recently, we have also started supporting students in Cite Soleil, the largest slum in Haiti, where electricity is sparse. This is a very difficult thing to imagine for the majority of us who have fairly reliable power sources. We flip a switch and we can read; we can study; we can cook; we can tend to the needs of our families. For us a lantern is a novelty, something to keep in our emergency kits or camping supplies.
My husband grew up in this village without electricity. He studied by candlelight or kerosene lantern, eyes straining in the near darkness. The link between these solar powered lanterns and literacy is intuitive – if you can’t see, you can’t read. You can’t study. You finished your daily chores of fetching water, tending crops, searching for firewood, and now it’s too dark to open a book. How are you to learn? Imagine you are a parent having to decide between spending money on kerosene or food; the light is a luxury that disappears. Under current conditions, a month’s worth of kerosene could instead buy 2 dozen eggs or approximately 15 servings of rice. Even with day to day use, the lanterns have an average lifespan of 5 years (the equivalent of 120 dozen eggs or 900 servings of rice). In addition to enabling education and protecting the food security of these families, the lantern also improves the health and safety of our community members by eliminating a fire hazard that pollutes the air.
Words in Action is launching the Bright Futures Campaign to purchase and distribute these lanterns in our target areas in Haiti. LuminAID has generously offered us subsidized pricing. Their smallest, most basic lanterns are approximately $10; midsize are $17, and their larger, brighter lantern that includes a phone charging port is approximately $28. (The more we purchase, the lower the unit pricing). They are waterproof and capable of withstanding extreme conditions; genuinely they are remarkable. For more details see LuminAID Solar Lanterns and Solar 2-in-1 Phone Chargers
We know that our network is full of passionate and creative people, and so we invite you to organize a fundraiser in your own circle. Approach your school or library about hosting a read-a-thon; invite your church to take up a special collection; put a donation jar in your workplace; take up a collection at the next party you attend; conduct a 50/50 draw at the next sports event you participate in; host a tournament or fun run. Talk to family members about giving a lantern in their honor in lieu of a Christmas gift. We are grateful for donations, personal and corporate.
As always, 100% of funds go directly to the cause. We believe in the power of this simple tool to enhance the lives of our community members, so the Louis family will be contributing $5000 (beyond that we need to preserve funds for scholarships). We intend to take a batch for distribution in January 2023; the next distribution in June. We thank you for any consideration towards this campaign. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us for questions, or for information to share with your prospective groups. Funds can be submitted through the Words in Action Donate links, by Zelle ([email protected]) or by mail.
Please join me in our efforts to create brighter futures. Yours in solidarity, Kristin Louis