Thanks to all of your support, Gecko has been able to donate £1,500 towards iEnergy’s Solar Lantern Project currently in operation in the North Eastern region of Sri Lanka. The funds were raised from The Gecko Pub Quiz in January and The Gecko Sixes cricket tournament in August. Our thanks also go to law firm Slaughter and May for supporting this donation. Below, iEnergy’s John Remigus writes on the ongoing amazing work of iEnergy which Gecko is proud to contribute towards. For further information, please visit iEnergy here.
Access to electricity is something that we take for granted in the developed world. All it takes is a flick of the switch to turn on our lights or power our appliances. However, globally, almost 1.3 billion people live without access to electricity. In Sri Lanka despite recent improvements in electrification rates tens of thousands of impoverished and marginalised rural families still live in relative darkness. This is particularly the case in the Northern and Eastern provinces of Sri Lanka, where electrification rates lag behind the national average.
In the absence of electricity these families rely on traditional kerosene lamps for light. These lamps are expensive to run and on average families spend 15-20% of their household income on kerosene. Kerosene lamps are also extremely dangerous with 40% of all burn cases in Sri Lanka being attributed to them and their toxic black fumes contributing to serious respiratory diseases. As a result, day to day tasks such as cooking and studying become almost unbearable under the smoky, dim light of a kerosene lamp.
iEnergy was set up as a social enterprise in 2015 with the aim of replacing dangerous, expensive kerosene lamps with clean, safe solar lanterns. We work through a number of established local charity partners (i.e. Smile Foundation, Serendip Childrens Home and KGM Foundation), leveraging their local insight and extensive networks to ensure that we find the most deserving beneficiaries and that our solar lanterns reach and benefit them.
Solar lanterns provide a safe, affordable alternative to kerosene lamps. During the daylight hours they can be left out to charge in the sun. Once fully charged these solar lanterns can provide clean, bright light for up to 8 hours for these families whether that be for cooking, studying or socialising.
Most recently, in June 2018, iEnergy travelled back to Sri Lanka to donate over 100 solar lanterns to families that lived without access to electricity in a number of villages in the Eastern Province including Unnichai, Nelloor, Mankerni, Vakarai and Chettikulam. Whilst it was fantastic to see these families benefiting from our solar lanterns, they were just the lucky ones. In the interior parts of the Eastern Province there are still many more that are living in relative darkness and caught in a vicious cycle of poverty. Thanks to the support and generous donations of Gecko Sri Lanka we look forward to brightening up the lives of another 150 families and giving them a clean, safe alternative to dangerous kerosene lamps. Watch this space for further updates and photos of all the beneficiaries!