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Give the gift of light this Christmas

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 18 December 2009 at 1:51 pm

We talk about fuel poverty here in the UK, but it's nothing compared to places like Africa, where people spend 15 to 20% of their income on kerosene. Not only is it expensive, but kerosene is also the main source of poison in Africa.

Solar power has the potential to bring the gift of light to many people who can't afford it. It also brings the gift of health, and the opportunity to get on in life. Light gives the chance to do homework, read, learn and earn.

I imagine that some of our readers won't have bought all their Christmas presents yet, and are in a last minute panic about what to get. A panic made worse by the fact that most of us already have most of what we need.

Well, here's an alternative idea. Rather than joining the melee on the high street on Christmas Eve, trying to find that elusive perfect gift, help someone for whom the light we take for granted is still a luxury. Give what you would have spent to SolarAid instead.

I recently discovered the charity - and love it's practical approach, the immediate impact it has on quality of life, and the way it enables African entrepreneurs to become Sunny Money franchisees, selling 1.8w PV panel packs to people to light their homes and charge their phones.

The household recovers the costs of the solar kit in a couple of months, and has more money in their pocket, increased health and light to lengthen the day beyond sunset.

You can give direct to SolarAid, or through the Times Christmas Appeal.

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