Unite to Light Donates Lights to AVANI

Unite to Light is a not for profit 501 (c) (3) corporation dedicated to providing low cost lighting to those without electricity, and eliminating the health and environmental issues associated with existing light sources used by this population, such as kerosene. In doing so, we will allow children the opportunity to study in the evening. 

Unite to Light is partnering with organizations on the ground in communities around the world to distribute lights for purchase with a portion of the money saved by people who used to buy kerosene. One of those partners could be GWEI in the coming year. 

Late last year, after a referral from Rotary International to Arun Gandhi, Unite to Light donated approximately 50 solar reading lights for Kolhapur AVANI students and staff to try out and in furtherance of the students' evening study needs.

Mr. Dorais and Mr. John Bowers head up this nonprofit that was formed as the distribution arm for a solar-powered LED light designed by a collaboration between University California Santa Barbara’s (UCSB) Institute for Energy Efficiency, directed by John Bowers, Walter Kohn, a UCSB Nobel-prize winning physicist, Engineers Without Borders members David Schmidt, Norm Gardner and Jock Bovington and others. 

Unite to Light began with a visit from Pastor Kofi Fosuhene and Osei Darkwa from Ghana Africa to Santa Barbara, California. People living in extreme poverty, who rely on kerosene for reading, suffer health problems and financial hardship perpetuating the problems of extreme poverty. Aware of the work done at UCSB's Institute for Energy Efficiency on high efficiency LED lights and high efficiency solar cells, Fosuhene and Darkwa asked if the Institute could design an affordable reading light. 

Unite to light Solar reading LightMr. Dorais shared during a recent interview that among the many benefits of this solar-powered light for combating extreme poverty, the business “system” that is responsible for the lights’ distribution not only provides light to those who need it most but also encourages local enterprise and community involvement through the sale of the light. 

“The capital required for 1000 lights ultimately supports the production and shipping of 19,000 lights,” explains Mr. Dorais. “This is possible due to the sale of the lights at a price that, depending on the local cost for kerosene, within a short time, pays for itself. Unite-to-light also donates its lights where possible.”

“The various stories that have been shared from people benefiting from these lights support the benefits of improved family health and financial well-being. It’s difficult for me to share some of these stories because of the emotions they bring up for me,” Mr. Dorais continues, “but they are also the stories that make it easy for all of the over 50 volunteers to continue investing time and energy into this project.”

The design of these lights has considered everything from price to packaging, shipping and ultimately the recycling of the rechargeable battery. It is a small, but total, solution.

The vision for Unite-to-Light extends to future solar-powered designs that will deepen the positive impact in fighting extreme poverty and improving the lives of people around the world. Africa alone has the lowest standard of living among all continents as a whole.

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