From Nepal to Morocco to Mexico, LuminAID lights have been around the world, transported by explorers who embody the outdoor adventure spirit. Though these adventurers are constantly on-the-go, they also give back to the communities that have shown them friendship and kindness along the way.
Nepal: Sunny Stroeer
Many settlements in the foothills of the Everest mountains are either off the electrical grid or lack access to solar installations. As a professional mountain athlete and adventurer, Sunny Stroeer traveled through these settlements on a recent trip to Nepal. After gifting Mingma, her Nepalese Sherpa friend, a LuminAID lantern and seeing the excitement and positive impact it had on his surroundings, Sunny partnered with LuminAID on a following trip to the Hinku Valley, a remote area of the Everest mountains, to give these electricity-lacking settlements a safe, reliable light source.
“Outside the largest trekking lodges, many families in the Hinku still struggle to make a living through subsistence farming,” Sunny said. “The only source of light in their modest huts is often the smoky kitchen hearth, and the nights are long. So this time around I came prepared: in partnership with LuminAID loaded up my backpack (or whatever space I could free up in it, given we were also carrying trekking and mountaineering gear for the three weeks on trail) with two dozen LuminAID lights to distribute to those families most in need.”
Sunny focused on distributing lights to the most remote and poorest huts, often those on high-up passes or those between large settlements that lacked access to lightbulbs or solar power. She distributed all 25 lanterns almost immediately. The reactions she received were incredibly moving.
“One thing that all of the recipients of PackLite lanterns had in common was their incredible, raw gratitude,” she said. “I saw old men with tears in their eyes, husbands shouting for their wives to come and celebrate their gift, and women offering meals and pots of chhaang - the local rice beer - as a thank you for the lanterns.”
Sunny’s actions in Nepal reflect the positive impact LuminAID hopes to make on the world. By giving people access to safe and reliable light while on her own adventure, Sunny epitomizes the role of an adventurer with a purpose.
“It was a humbling and powerful experience to be reminded that access to light and power at the flick of a switch is not something to be taken for granted, and I very much hope to continue working with LuminAID to give light whenever I climb, run or guide beyond the outer boundaries of the electrical grid.”
Morocco: Hannah Lamers and Jean-Hugues Gooris
Hannah Lamers and Jean-Hugues Gooris travel around the world on their tandem bike. After a recent trip through the Sahara Desert in Morocco, they merged their passion for travel and humanitarian aid, partnering with LuminAID in the process.
Their traveling humanitarian efforts began accidentally. After running out of water, they stumbled upon a school for nomadic children in the middle of the desert. According to Hannah, “These nomadic children were willing to give all that they could to us while needing much for themselves. We learned that life in the middle of the desert demands much from these children, and this school-- which receives no help from the government-- is one of the few educational resources they have access to.”
In an attempt to reciprocate the generosity the bikers received from the children, Hannah and Jean-Hugues are creating a care package of basic necessities that are often taken for granted such as first aid supplies and LuminAID lanterns for the children to do their homework at night. The need for light at night is often overlooked as a basic necessity for children’s education. Solar light allows students to complete their homework even after the sun has set, when they otherwise could not.
Hannah and Jean-Hugues are now gearing up for a cycling trip from Belgium to Turkey, where they have also partnered with the Karam Foundation in the hopes of distributing these care packages to nomadic children at a small school in the Balkans. Hannah and Jean-Hugues are adventurers with a purpose who use their traveling platform as a means to do meaningful, philanthropic work in untouched, nomadic regions.
Mexico: Adventure Factory
A travel company that takes participants on mind-blowing outdoor experiences, the Adventure Factory combines adventure with purpose by giving back to the communities their team members visit. Founded and run by Mike Savas and Max Rantz-McDonald, the Adventure Factory partnered with LuminAID to provide lanterns to communities in Peru and Mexico. In addition to providing lanterns on their regularly-scheduled trips, the Adventure Factory and LuminAID have provided lanterns to those in need when disaster strikes.
In 2017, the Adventure Factory connected LuminAID with Los Topos, Mexico’s volunteer rescuers, to help provide light to volunteers during night digs. Los Topos are renowned for venturing into fallen buildings and crumbling structures to free survivors. Thanks to the efforts of Adventure Factory and Los Topos, 200 LuminAID lanterns were distributed to residents in Xochimilco, an area completely without power and access without boats, after a devastating earthquake. The Adventure Factory and LuminAID were able to provide light to the entire floating village.
Mike and Max work tirelessly to answer to communities in need, working with LuminAID to provide safe, reliable light to those off-the-grid. By combining adventure and giving back, the Adventure Factory gives purpose to all of their trips.
Sunny, Hannah, Jean-Hugues, Mike, and Max are all adventurers with a purpose. By using their platform as travelers, these adventurers have brought LuminAID lanterns to areas where safe solar light can help the daily lives of families. These adventurers are change-makers, helping improve the safety of living conditions of those most in need.
Keep up-to-date on LuminAID and Mercy Corps' response to Hurricane Florence in North Carolina, and send a solar phone charger to a family in need.