A Shining Example for Education

The School Fund and One Million Lights are teaming up to send solar lights to students in Tanzania

Lugalo Secondary School students in Iringa, Tanzania

The students of Lugalo Secondary School in Iringa, Tanzania struggle every year to afford the fees required for their supplies, instruction, books, food, uniform, and exams. It’s only about $150 per year. But, for them, $150 per year is a fortune. Thanks to The School Fund, an innovative person-to-person funding site that links students in the developing world with funders around the globe, all of these students’ fees have been paid.

One Million Lights would like YOUR help in sending solar lights to these students to help them study with clean, safe light. They routinely rely on dangerous and expensive kerosene lanterns to study. When you replace their kerosene lantern with a clean, safe solar light, students have a motivation to study, non-toxic air in their home, no risk of burns or fires, increased family savings, and no carbon emissions. It’s a multi-faceted gift that changes lives overnight!

The School Fund distributes lights at Lugalo

Your donation of $20 puts a solar light into the hands of a student. In fact, this gift keeps on giving for years to come… spread out over the lifetime of the light, you are giving clean, safe light to a student for about $2 per year. Furthermore, our solar lights save the average family 1/3 of their annual income and eliminate 1 tonne of carbon every 5 years.

Donate a light today to a student at Lugalo Secondary School. Our goal is to send 50 lights this year and every year until each of the more than 650 students has a clean, safe light. Learn more about this project by clicking here.

Learn More About The School Fund

Matt Severson & The School Fund: Supporting Students and Schools in Tanzania

Matt Severson with his inspiration for The School Fund, John Medo

I visited Tanzania for the first time in 2007, after graduating from Palo Alto High School. It was after a 3 week trip to Kenya with a group of friends. Tanzania was our 3-day safari—a little sightseeing after what had primarily been a service trip—but what I encountered there was both a heart-wrenching truth and a remarkable opportunity.

Just outside our hotel, cutting the grass for the family cow, was a boy named John Medo. In the spirit of tremendous hospitality one finds so common in East Africa, John invited me to his house for tea and bread, after a two-minute conversation in broken English. I learned that this enthusiastic, bright young boy had, that very year, graduated primary school at the top of his class but was unable to continue his education because of secondary school fees. I was deeply troubled that John was going to be denied something as basic as education, and that he would have the same exact life as his parents: stuck in the rut of poverty, unable to adequately feed, house, clothe and provide opportunity for his children.

Matt with some new friends in Tanzania

After my parents and I left money for John’s first year of secondary school, I began thinking about the hundreds of thousands of students around the world who are denied the opportunity to continue learning. I wanted to bring this basic interaction to scale: a friendship where one teenager helped another teenager continue attending school, and the teenager being helped opened the first’s eyes to a new part of the world where there exists a curious juxtaposition between abject poverty and a wealth of love, family interaction, and even interactions with strangers you met a mere two-minutes ago.

So we created The School Fund. It’s an online, person-to-person, funding platform that addresses educational inequality in the developing world by connecting students in need of financial aid, with donors (we call them funders) around the globe. We are also working with schools to provide much needed learning materials, and are excited to partner with One Million Lights to distribute solar light to our partner schools in Tanzania.

Matt and a friend with a funded group of students in Tanzania

Visit www.theschoolfund.org to fund a student or a school, and learn more about our work.