In 2013 we launched the Solar for Syria campaign alongside the International Rescue Committee. Working together, we distributed 82,405 WakaWakas to Syrian refugees in the Middle East. In a region where the sun sets early in the evening for most of the year, the WakaWakas enable more than 280,000 refugees to see, work, learn, eat, pray, and otherwise continue their days long into evening.
WakaWaka solar lamps allow Syrian children living in off-grid refugee camps to study long after daylight ends. We were thrilled to see the lives of Syrian children — many of them living with disabilities — dramatically improved by WakaWakas.
We are so touched by the story of little Noor (which means “light” in Arabic!). Six years old and in first grade, Noor’s poor eyesight caused him to struggle in school because the classrooms were so dark. He sat in the front row so he could see and follow his teacher, but only limited light filtered in through the classroom’s small windows and Noor could barely see his own writing or read his books. Once he received a WakaWaka Light, he was able to see his schoolwork much better.
Like Noor, there are many other children thrilled with their new solar lamps. Sammy was delighted to see WakaWaka’s positive effect on his mother:
“My mother looks more happy in the light” – Sammy, 4 years, from Bosra
In a study of 5,000 Syrian refugee families, researchers found that 95% of the families are still using their WakaWakas one year after distribution.
The WakaWaka is a double triumph: It saves families money, since their financial resources no longer need to be used for costly kerosene. It also impacts their health and environment. Even as their use of clean solar energy helps to reduce CO2 emissions, these Agents of Light can breathe easier, since they are no longer forced to inhale toxic kerosene fumes.
And the gains extend even farther. Families tell us they are able to work and study far into the evening. For Bushra, a mother of two responsible for feeding her family, the WakaWaka was a welcome gift:
“Thanks to the WakaWaka I feel lighter and I am also able to gain a little income. I charge a minimal fee for others to recharge their mobiles so that we can all talk to our families in Syria.” – Bushra, from Bosra, Syria
WakaWaka impacts the lives of score of Syrian refugees in the Middle East. But that is not the only place we share the sun! Check the WakaWaka Impact Map and learn more about our global impact.