Lighting the Way

American Way

by Renee Brincks

Anna Sidana of One Million Lights, photo by Jacob Blickenstaff

October 2012 – Shortly after visiting the school her father founded in India four decades ago, Anna Sidana began mentoring a group of Stanford University students who were developing handheld solar lamps. Sidana set a goal of sending 200 of those lamps to the Indian village she had visited — and before she knew it, One Million Lights, a nonprofit that makes life brighter for families around the world, was born. The rechargeable lights facilitate studying after sundown, extend the workday for home-based farmers and artisans, and replace dangerous, dirty kerosene lamps. “Sitting in a hut in the middle of the Sahara with a kerosene lamp is the equivalent of smoking two packs of cigarettes a day,” Sidana says. “It makes a huge impact on health and the environment.” One Million Lights volunteers partner with corporations and schools to deliver lamps throughout Africa, Asia and the Americas.

To learn how you can help spread the light, visit