When we think of our most basic human needs, we often think of food, water and shelter. But when architecture graduate students Anna Stork and Andrea Sreshta were asked to design a product to assist post-earthquake relief efforts in Haiti, they considered the dangerous conditions at night in the tent cities and turned their attention to another critical need: Light.
Two weeks after the Haiti earthquake in January 2010, Anna Stork and Andrea Sreshta set out to design a lighting product that could be easily distributed in times of emergency. There was nothing on the market that could pack flat or be easily distributed in volume and they saw that a lighting product had the potential to improve the comfort and safety of disaster victims. They decided to combine a solar circuit with an inflatable shape because it was 100% waterproof, lightweight, and the inflatable plastic could help diffuse the LED light. They spent that semester prototyping their idea for a solar inflatable light by hand and filed utility patents for the combination of solar, LED, inflatable technology in 2010.
Everything came full circle for Stork and Sreshta when a year later, the two found themselves in Tokyo on a class trip during one of the worst earthquakes ever recorded. “Our experience in Tokyo was a catalyst for us to bring this technology to market—it showed us that lighting is not something being distributed in emergencies, and even in very developed countries, it is still lacking after emergencies,” says Sreshta. The two founded LuminAID with a clear mission: to develop smart, innovative lighting and energy products for emergency aid and outdoor use.
Since coming up with our idea just over 5 years ago, LuminAID has had the privilege to include LuminAID solar lights in charitable projects in more than 50 countries and to work with some of the largest relief aid organizations. “Each time we hear a new story about where our product has made a difference, we are reminded of how grateful we are to have the opportunity to share our product with the world,” says Stork. A milestone for the company came in 2013 when they worked with ShelterBox to distribute over 20,000 lights to victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.
About the Founders: Anna Stork and Andrea Sreshta met while studying architecture and design in graduate school. They shared an interest in solar lighting technology and a common belief that design and design thinking can be used to solve problems at a global scale, including improving access to basic resources such as lighting and power.
LuminAID and Humanitarian Aid Relief
LuminAID’s goal is to make portable lighting a part of the supplies commonly sent as part of disaster relief aid. In addition to food, water, and shelter, light can greatly add to the well-being of victims of a natural disaster or crisis. The lights are easily transported in large numbers. For approximately 8 flashlights by volume, you can pack up to 50 LuminAID solar lights. LuminAID lights can also be printed with instructions for use in the field and logos. Contact us for more information about our custom print services. Renewable lighting can aid those in situations in which batteries are scarce and the electricity grid is disabled either immediately after a disaster and over an extended period of time.