The Maasai and the Microsolar Light
The Maasai Mara is a Kenyan game reserve famous for some big residents! Elephants, rhinos, zebras, buffalo and lions all live in the Mara.
However, the Maasai Mara is also home to the Maasai people. Carol and I were in the Mara having previously spoken with The Anne K. Taylor Fund, a private organisation which works to protect wildlife and tackle the issue of human-wildlife conflict in the reserve. With their help we were able to visit seven schools and two women groups with our solar lights.
One of the schools we visited was Isokon School. The school recently started a semi-boarding program to keep older pupils, who travel long distances, in school. Shockingly, the effects of kerosene lanterns, traditionally used for students to study by, could be seen on the ceiling of the class rooms.
In order to reach the greatest number possible, we met with teachers and women's groups, who were ideally placed to distribute solar lights to families throughout the community. Below, you can see the excitement as we demonstrated the microsolar lights to the groups.
I believe that our programs will have a real impact on this community. The Maasai travel long distances, risking their lives over land occupied by wild animals, in search for kerosene and mobile phone charging. They also burn a lot of wood to both cook and light their homes in the evening. Solar power, and the mobile phone charging function it provides, will allow them to light their homes and charge their phones without walking these huge distances, inhaling toxic fumes or spending their income on brutally expensive kerosene and candles.
We learnt so much about the wonderful Maasai community and the wildlife that shares their land. For our safety, we were given armed escort during our visits, which we were happy about as we even had the chance to see lions at close range!
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