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Earth Day: Solar Power Transforms Children’s Lives

22 April 2016
Globally, around 1.2 billion* people still do not have access to electricity. On Earth Day, this series of photos shows how we are supporting the use of solar power to help children access their rights to education, hygiene and sanitation and protection.

Access to Education

Education, Solar Power
Sandy uses a solar-powered torch to study in the evenings.

Come night, 17 year-old Sandy from Zambia used to have a daily struggle so she could study. With no access to electricity she had to do her homework by candlelight. Now, supported by our work with our partner Velux, solar lamps are helping to ensure that she can study whenever she likes. “Now I can read at night and do my homework. We used just to go to bed as we weren’t allowed candles in our house because of the fire risk – they were too dangerous with so many young children around.”

Solar Power, Education
Solar energy allows Ma Wai Wai to do her homework in the light.

Ma Wai Wai is part of a Plan International-supported climate change group in Myanmar. Her village had no electricity so her mother, encouraged by Ma Wai Wai, decided to invest in a solar panel. “I could not afford to light the whole house so I used a solar-energy bulb that was placed near my daughter’s bed. She is able to use it for her study time,” said Ma Wai Wai's mother. “I’m able to do my lessons under this light,” says Ma Wai Wai, 14. “I am not dizzy like I was with a candle. It was hard to read then. The solar light helps when I study and read.”

Education, Solar Power
Children in a Plan International-supported boarding school drawing pictures in the light of a solar-powered lamp.

Many children in Laos live in remote areas and their journey to school can take hours each day. We have built a boarding house near to a secondary school in Hadnam in order to shorten the journey of students. The space is equipped with solar lamps so that light is provided for cooking and other every day activities, and children can do schoolwork at night.

Education, Solar Power
This solar-powered school is providing a quality education to 24 students in Ethiopia.

This innovative solar power internet school is the first of its kind to be constructed in Ethiopia. A shipping container acting as a school, it uses solar power so that children can learn in the best possible conditions. Accommodating up to 24 pupils, it is fitted with solar panels which power a 65-inch large-format screen, a teacher’s laptop computer, 24 laptops for students, a printer and fans, to keep the container cool.

Clean, Safe Water

Health, Sanitation, Hygeine, Solar Power
Solar Power is providing clean and safe water to students, and helping girls to stay in school.

In many villages in Kenya it is difficult to access safe, clean water in schools. When girls are on their period, many have to stay at home and miss out on classes because there is no clean water supply for hygiene purposes. However, a solar-powered pump gets water from a 110 metre deep borehole into a tank from where it is sent into a dispenser machine. This is letting students access safe water and is encouraging girls to stay in school.

Health and Sanitation, Solar Power
This water tower reduces the distance girls in Mabelane walk each day to fetch clean, safe water.

This solar-powered borehole in Mabelane, Mozambique is giving the community access to clean water. It has reduced the average distance covered by household members, especially by girls, to fetch water from a safe water point each day. Plan International set up a Water Committee and gave training on hygiene and sanitation, safety, water point management and maintenance.

Safety for Women and Girls

Child Protection, Solar Power, Refugee Camps
Solar-powered lamps promote safety for women and children.

Mahama refugee camp in Rwanda is home to over 48,000 refugees from Burundi. The installation of solar lamps is lighting up the paths that lead to the toilets and shower rooms in the evening. In this way, we are helping girls and women move freely and safely around the camp at night.

*Stats from World Bank. Plan International is not responsible for content on external websites.