Greetings from New CEO Ben Bunker
As the newly appointed leader of the Global BrightLight Foundation, I would like to extend a warm greeting to our friends and supporters around the world. It is because of you that we are able to provide opportunity and hope around the world through solar energy. I am proud to have had the privilege of working with GBL as a member of the Advisory Team dating back to 2012 and honored to have been named the CEO of the organization starting this January. We still have a lot of work ahead of us to provide electricity to the remaining 1.2 billion who currently lack access to it. My hope is that these newsletters connect you with the work we are doing. Feel free to drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org and as always, thank you for your support!
In February I visited a group of villages in Northern Guatemala that we provided solar lamps to three years ago in partnership with HELPS International. The impact that the lamps have made on these communities is simply stunning. Much of the change was driven by the fact that after receiving their solar lamp, families no longer had to pay for inferior and dirty lighting sources like candles or kerosene and no longer had to travel hours to have their cell phone charged for a fee.
The costs of candles, kerosene and cell phone charging are significant to these families and can account for 15-20% of their income per month. Over the 5-year life of the solar lamps, families can save over $500 on lighting and cell phone charging costs. This money can be used to purchase additional food, medical supplies, and to pay for school fees. When asked how the lamp had changed her life, one elderly woman replied that for the first time in her life she could afford luxuries. I was curious to know what she meant by “luxuries” and she replied: “I can finally put sugar in my coffee in the morning.” I looked down at the cup of coffee with sugar she had given me and was reminded how truly life changing our work is!
Donation to the Mahama Camp in Rwanda
In partnership with Great Lakes Energy and Plan International, the Global BrightLight Foundation is proud to announce the distribution of 589 solar lamps to the Mahama Refugee Camp in Rwanda. The camp was established in 2015 to accommodate thousands of Burundian refugees who fled to Rwanda amidst political turmoil in their home country. The lamps will be given to community leaders, volunteers, and police officers to provide safety and security for the camp’s residents. This includes providing high quality lighting to restroom and wash facilities to help combat instances of sexual and gender based violence. We look forward to sharing more stories from the camp once the distribution is under way.
Looking Ahead in 2016
The year ahead looks very bright and I am looking forward to continuing to share stories about our impact from around the world in the coming months. Please visit our website today to make a tax deductible donation and help us bring clean, affordable solar power to people in need around the world.