Rooted in volunteerism and friendship, Students for Africa is a charity that encourages Canadian youth to help improve schooling and living conditions for rural Maasai villages in Tanzania. By educating students on Maasai culture and the challenges of subsistence life in Tanzania, Students for Africa focuses on one village at a time to develop improvement projects based on solutions provided by villagers. To provide safe access to light, Students for Africa distributed LuminAID solar lanterns in Meserani, a Maasai village located in Tanzania’s Same District.
Students for Africa helped provide 15 rooftop solar panel systems for the Meserani village, allowing people to charge their flashlights, phones, and radios. Students for Africa distributed over 40 waterproof, inflatable solar LuminAID lanterns to those families who did not have direct access to these rooftop solar panel systems. LuminAID lights are small and portable, delivering safe and reliable light to areas that would otherwise be left in the dark.
As Students for Africa explained, “Nights are dark and evening comes early in Tanzania. The rural Maasai village we are helping is 40km from the nearest road and electricity connection. Having solar light helps. The evening meal can be prepared more easily. Children are able to complete their schoolwork. Villagers report that they feel safer because they can see their way and can look out for scorpions and snakes.”
Light and power are crucial for sustenance in any rural area, especially at night. “The village is spread over a large area of land,” Students for Africa explained. “Having portable light makes it easier to walk at night and also more comfortable indoors. Women are able to cook in the home after dark and children are able to do their homework.”
LuminAID lanterns go beyond ensuring the safety of villagers by also promoting literacy and education for children. Oftentimes, kids are unable to complete their school work due to poor lighting conditions at night. LuminAID lanterns rely on solar power to provide a safe sustainable light source for kids to continue and excel in their education.
Through their projects, Students for Africa have used solar energy to help improve the living, working, and educational conditions of families in rural Tanzania. Students for Africa has helped inspire younger generations to connect, volunteer, and help out a village in need.