The village near Nairobi where Evans Wadongo grew up had no electricity. He had to do his schoolwork by the light from a kerosene lantern. He and his schoolmates suffered from poor grades compared to classmates who had electricity. Evans also saw the health hazards from the fumes and smoke of the kerosene as his own eyesight was weakened from years of strain. Many of his friends dropped out of school, only to continue in poverty. The cost of kerosene for lighting and cooking also cut severely into the village families’ money for food.
“I have come as light into the world, so that everyone who believes in me should not remain in the darkness.” —John 12:46
While attending a university in Kenya, Wodango began to experiment with solar-powered LED lighting. He knew that a lantern powered and charged by the sun’s rays would change the life of his village. With the support of family, friends, and a non-profit agency, his prototype was completed and named MwangaBora, which is Swahili for “good light.” He named his endeavor, “Use Solar, Save Lives.”
Wadongo buys scrap pieces of solar panels in bulk and, with the help of volunteers, hammers out the metal needed for their MwangaBoras. They have distributed over 10,000 lanterns. “I want to reach out to as many rural communities as possible. The impact is saving lives,” Wadongo shared.
Children can study. Villagers can buy food with the money saved by not buying kerosene, thereby reducing poverty and hunger. One villager said, “I am so grateful for the lights. My children have light to read and no more sickness brought on by smoke.”
Once again, we see the power of one person literally changing the world.
LIGHT OF THE WORLD, help me today to take my own light into the darkness to shine. Help me to always look for ways that I can offer my heart and mind to be a world-changer. Help me to watch for and take advantage of any opportunity to be Your light.