The Mandarin may be small but it is having a big impact on Tanzanian families. Yesterday I received this report from our friends at Floresta regarding a family who have had one of our lights for a year.
Abbas Jumanne Abbas family joined Floresta VICOBA group since 2007 at Matala, Matala is a village in Kilimanjaro region, Moshi rural district and the family has 8 members. Four (4) kids are studying in Primary schools and one (1) kid is in secondary school. Before the introduction of solar lights in March 2010, we were using a lamp that uses kerosene and lanterns for lighting during studying during the evening or at night and cooking time. Our main activities are crops production and livestock rearing in small scale production.
The distribution of solar lights by Floresta Tanzania has changed our lives since March 2010 as described in several aspects below;
Solar lights brought studying harmony to kids in accomplishing their home works as observed after introduction of this simple light, It is simple in handling and no harmful effect like injury, When kids woke up during the night, they simply switch on solar light as compared to kerosene lamps of which most of them fail to light it and ask their parents to help them which seems like a disturbance to them, Kids tend to study at night two days in a week due to unavailability of kerosene and the problem has been solved by Floresta and they are now studying everyday to accomplish their home work. Kids have raised their capacity by studying effectively during the evening and night. Example my child who is studying secondary has raised from top 20 up to the position of top 10 students in the class, this is due to the use of solar light that has little disturbances.
By observation our children had a problem of eyes irritation when using kerosene lamps and lanterns for studying, probably this contributed to lower their capacity in studying, and also Kerosene lamp has a problem of producing pop sound/bursting which is danger to kids. Hence solar lights (Illumination) seem to be more effective in this manner for health of our families and no disturbances.
Kerosene is very expensive and its cost per liter tends to shoot from time to time. We have many things to accomplish with the available money rather than using in kerosene whereby in my family we were using 5 liter per month.
We are staying far from town and it involves costs for travelling while looking for kerosene but with the use of solar lights there is no costs associated, just the initial cost of buying it. The amount served from not purchasing kerosene help us in bus fare for our child who is studying in secondary at Himo which is a day school.
The use of solar lights serves time for other activities rather than looking for kerosene from a distance.
Kerosene lamps involve other costs of buying lamp glass as it is fragile of which approximately four to five times per year it may break and hence need replacement while in solar lights there is no such costs, no maintenance has been required so far (we have had the light for one year) unlike other products which were brought in the village which have had problems.