For millions in the developing world, kerosene lamps are not a thing of the past nor a tool used only during black outs or camping trips—they are an everyday reality. This is because many people in developing countries are not connected to an energy grid. So instead, they must rely on dim, expensive and potentially hazardous sources of fuel, such as kerosene lamps and candles, to illuminate their homes at night.
That was true for Suze Servius, client of our partner Fonkoze in Haiti, until she obtained a loan from Fonkoze to buy a solar light. Now her home is brightly illuminated at night, allowing her son to study without straining his eyes or inhaling kerosene smoke. Like other center chiefs (leaders of lending groups) of local Fonkoze branches, Suze has the option of purchasing solar lights for resale purposes, which she often does. Because center chiefs are trusted members of the community, they represent an important channel that can be utilized to increase awareness of and provide access to solar lighting.
Since 2011 Suze has sold over one hundred lights and uses her profits to pay off loans, expand her business inventory (she also sells clothing and cosmetics) and pay for her son’s education. Because Suze no longer needs to spend money on kerosene, she also has more money to raise her family. It’s amazing how one technology has improved the quality of life, financial stability and health of Suze’s family.