600 Lights In Six Weeks!
If you remember from last year, the Nancy Ellen Crooks Foundation received a donation of 600 lights from d.light. With this, we were able to start the year off with a bang! From Western Kenya to South Sudan, we have brought happiness and joy to six hundred children!
A ray of light in environmental conservation efforts
The NECF, in partnership with the Mt Kenya Trust (MKT), distributed 325 solar lights to five schools, one secondary school and 4 primary schools, in the West Imenti area at the northwestern foot of Mt. Kenya.
These schools back onto the lower forests of Mt. Kenya. Due to poverty, the communities in these areas have been known to cut trees extensively and make charcoal. It was interesting to note that in Mbeu Primary School, parents generally spend 20/= a day for kerosene so about 7,200/= a year for that fuel. The Mt Kenya Trust has worked diligently in this area to educate the children and parents on the benefits of environmental conservation and particularly tree planting in order to reforest the barren hills.
Last November, Rosemary Kinyanjui, an NECF board member, visited with the head masters of each school. She left with them a sample of the lights so the families could learn about the benefits of solar lighting and decide if they wanted to purchase a light at a subsidized cost of 200/=. There was an overwhelming interest in the lights! Earlier this month, Humphrey Munene, the Conservation Education Officer for MKT and Rosemary, went to the schools to distribute the lights to the families who signed up for them.
The children were enthralled with the lights, as were the parents, and it was so encouraging to see the positive response to our distribution.
Lighting up Juba
Although the Nancy Ellen Crooks Foundation typically works throughout Kenya, it’s hard to ignore the suffering of those in neighboring countries. When approached by a high school student who wanted to bring light to school going children in South Sudan, we could not say no. In partnership with Westmont High School’s club Girl Up, and South Sudanese Friends International, we were able to deliver 120 lights to War Child and Orphans Rehabilitation Program (WCORP) in Juba, South Sudan.
Despite the volatile situation in the South Sudan, WCORP values education as an avenue for empowerment. Initially, the lights were intended for the girl children at the facility but we were able to provide more lights then originally intended and nearly all students, both girls and boys, received lights so they can now study in the their home at the Protection of Civilians Camp.
Solar lighting is the surefire way forward for families in Juba, considering that over 90% of the country does not have access to electricity and we hope to continue providing light to children in South Sudan.
150 students from Lady Rose School in Vihiga County, Western Kenya, received solar lights in late January. One recipient of the lights was Margaret Nyangasi, a secondary school student.
Margaret is the fourth child in a family of seven children, three boys and four girls. Her father passed away in 2016. Her aging mother is unemployed and supports her children through digging farms for other families. Margaret’s three older siblings, all boys, completed secondary school and are casual workers at construction sites and flower farms. All the girls are still in school.
Their home, a tin-roofed semi-permanent structure, is off grid and has no electricity. Margaret and her sisters have been using light from kerosene lamps to study in the evenings. She said getting a solar lamp, a present from her mother, is the best thing that has happened to her because it is bright and safe. In the evening, the sisters share the lamp to do their homework. She believes that because of her new light, there will be an improvement in her grades this term.
In future, after secondary school, Margaret aspires to pursue further education and a career in the agricultural sector.