Give Light and Power To a Syrian Refugee Family
Two years ago I had the pleasure of meeting Maurits Groen, Co-founder & Chief Executive Officer of Solar company WakaWaka, during a business networking meeting organised by KLM BlueBiz. Maurits told the story of his company and how they were trying to bring off-grid lighting to some of the poorest people on the planet. His passion for his product and the mission to bring light to everyone struck a chord among many in the audience. By using the ‘buy one get one free’ business model, they are able to distribute their WakaWaka solar lights where they are needed the most; for example in areas where disaster has struck. They recently launched a new fundraising campaign, ‘Solar For Syria‘.
According to the UN the humanitarian disaster taking place in Syria is “the biggest refugee crisis since the Rwanda genocide”. The numbers are beyond comprehension; 10 million are in need of aid. Seven million Syrians have fled their homes and live under primitive circumstances in refugee camps. ‘Solar for Syria’ enables individuals as well as companies to directly impact the lives of one or more refugee families.
The International Rescue Committee (IRC) distributed 26.000 WakaWakas in some of these camps in 2013 impacting the lives of over 125,000 people. The WakaWaka has turned out to be much desired among Syrian refugees. Instead of selling or trading them, 94% of the refugees still own their WakaWaka. 90% are using it on a daily basis. Light makes them feel safer and enables them to cook and move about in the evening. Children can now read, study or simply make drawings and play in the evening.
WakaWaka prevents the use of toxic, dangerous kerosene lamps. These lamps can easily catch fire and burn the very few possessions that these refugees have.
Charging their phones greatly improves the ability to stay in touch with family and friends. In addition it saves a great deal of money, as electricity (if available) is very expensive in the refugee camps. Which leaves more money for food and other necessities.
The campaign is clear and simple: for each WakaWaka sold, the company will provide one free to a Syrian refugee family. The campaign will run until end of February. Those who want their entire contribution to be utilized for getting WakaWakas to Syrian refugees have (of course) the option to donate.
Please explore if there is a way in which you (or your company) can contribute to the campaign. This can be anything from purchasing WakaWakas, donating cash or media space or simply Tweet – Share – Like – Talk about SolarforSyria.org to family, friends, customers or staff and tell them of the impact light can make on peoples lives.
Please visit the website (www.solarforsyria.org), where you can watch the campaign video and see the positive effects of the WakaWaka in Syria.
A minute of your time could change the life of a refugee forever.
‘In this refugee camp we live in one of the many thousands and thousands of tents. We have travelled to Jordan to escape from the war in Syria. It was a very long and dangerous journey. Our youngest sister was born here just after we arrived. She is two years old now. We always hang our laundry in between the tents. It doesn’t take long before the desert wind dries them. My mother also hangs the wonder-lamp in the sun. The light keeps me company in the evening so I will be able to sleep without nightmares…’ Hassan, age 3 years and his sister from Palmyra.
Photo by Esseline van de Sande
By Julie Allen