Safe Lighting for the Elderly – Uganda

LIGHTS 010Update July 2017:

Uganda Rural Elderly Support reached out and have asked for 100 more lights for their community.  Please consider donating today! These lights make their lives safer and cleaner.

Update July 2015:

Findings, conclusions and recommendations

They were a number of  typical complains that one lamp is not enough people would like to have for example two or three, so there is a lamp for the kitchen, the main house and   one for the boys and one for the girls in the family(dependants) to have evening preps. Some families consisted of more than 5 people.

Some elderly lost their solar lamps while being hanged out due to unknown passerby in their compounds while others got challenges of using them in terms of short light supply. To this effect we made another illustration of how they are supposed to be used and we emphasized them to fully charge the solar lights.

All recipients expressed great gratitude to have received a Solar light from One million Lights an organization in USA. One would like to write and say thanks, but knew not how to write nor where send his or her letter nor make a telephone call.

Evaluation after the distribution of solar lamps

LIGHTS 018After a while there was an evaluation on how and how well the solar lights worked. Uganda Rural Elderly Support came up with a questionnaire and interviews recipients of the lamps during the past months.

The evaluation showed that a solar light is good in at least three levels:

1. Provides better health because of less smoke in the home (No more pollution).
2.  Fighting poverty because it reduces the cost of paraffin/kerosene. (Cost saving).They have saved some money for other usages like treatments, school fees for the grandchildren and other home necessities.
3. Provide better education because they can better do homework at night thus the grades in school goes up,
4. One can use the lamp to be able to sit outside in the evening and socialize with family and friends.
5. No more having supper outside the house with the help of the moonlight.

Some of the interviewed argued with a smile that a third usefulness of solar lights is that they can reduce overpopulation, since there is not much else to do in rural villages after dark than to produce children. When there is light there is something else to do.

November 2014

Over 85% of Uganda’s population live in the rural areas and have no access to electricity and are fully reliant on open wick flame kerosene lamps as the sole source of light. Kerosene is expensive, inefficient, toxic leaving the occupants exposed to harmful particles emitted by the lamps since their houses are poorly ventilated. In some elderly homes where there is no money to buy kerosene, the whole family ends up sitting in the dark or even take their supper outside the house with the help of the moonlight. In cases where it is total darkness too outside, the family members always take their supper at 6.00 pm. while there is still some daylight.

The health of the elderly and their dependents (orphans) whom are home bound with domestic duties suffer prolonged exposure to smoke and spent fuel. The pollutant results in acute respiratory infections and in extreme cases death may even occur. Kerosene lamp accidents are very common with severe burns i.e. the lamps are not upturned or blow the burning flames before they go for sleep.

Dependents/orphans staying with the elderly study at night using kerosene lamps. The smoke and fumes that are toxic (as the children directly breathe in lamp fumes) cause eyestrain directly affecting the literacy outcomes.

Uganda Rural Elderly Support  is partnering with One Million Lights to bring 200 solar lanterns to their community  to give them a safer and healthier option for light.  Please consider donating today to this project.