Cheyanne, a librarian at Gulu Primary School, shares their story of distributing lights to teachers and students in Uganda. The impact the lights had for the teachers and students is immeasurable! Thank you, Cheyanne for sharing your story and your wonderful photos from distributing the lights!
Gulu Primary School says ‘Apwoyo Matek!’ (thanks in our local language) to the LuminAid team for their new solar lights!
I have been working at Gulu Primary school since January of 2016 and that is the first time that I witnessed our night classes being held by candle light and portable solar light. Our class sizes range from 20 to 100 kids being taught by one teacher and most of the time, the only illumination is from the few solar lights that students provide.
With electricity being unstable, especially during rainy season, the LuminAid lanterns now provide consistent light during the pupil’s night classes. When I first found out that LuminAid was going to send these lights to my school, I excitedly told the teachers and administration. The teachers are always complaining about inefficient light during nighttime sessions even when power is there. The wires are faulty and old. Of course, when I tried to explain LuminAid and the lights, they were confused; they had no idea what these lights would be like no matter how well they were explained.
Months went by until the box finally made the long journey from America to Uganda. Before handing the lights over to my counterpart, and fellow librarian, I created a workshop for my teachers. The workshop contained information on how to use the lights, how to handle them properly, and how to make sure they last as long as possible. The day came for the teacher workshop and you should have seen the smiles on their faces. They let me talk about how we were going to monitor them so they wouldn’t be stolen or lost, how long the light would last until we had to recharge them, and how to teach the students to use them so they would take care of them and not think they are toys. The teachers loved them and couldn’t stop themselves from blowing up almost all 40! They were asking me if they ‘could take them home’ and ‘how could they get one’. After our workshop they developed a method for using the lights that would cover the most space in a classroom. They decided that they would hang the lights on string above the pupils so that the light is evenly distributed for all the pupils. They cannot seem to say ‘Thank You’ enough and neither can I.
In attached photos you see the teachers celebrating after they completed the workshop that I held for them. You see the students reading in the library using the lights. A student doing work in an empty classrooms with the strings that were hung to hold the lights at night. My counterpart and fellow librarian hanging said strings in his classroom to prepare for the evening lessons. A group of pupils cheering and yelling 'Apwoyo Matek' holding the lights. And a young girl holding the light in our dark library to show how much light just one will provide to us!
Hurricane Florence has devastated the North Carolina coastline, leaving families without power and causing flood waters to drastically rise. The need for solar phone chargers and lanterns is substantial, and we have partnered with Mercy Corps, as a featured Give Light, Get Light partner, to distribute our lights to those left without power.