WakaWakas for Bangladesh
In September 2015, Habitat for Humanity, in partnership with Van der Heide, distributed 380 WakaWaka Lights in three villages in Badekapla, one of Bangladesh’s most climate-vulnerable areas. Through a community-based clean-up initiative, local families were eligible to receive a WakaWaka and training on health, safety and sanitation habits.
Meet Rokeya Khatun and her husband, Yeasin Ali. They have two daughters: 13-year-old Tanuja and two-month-old Afroja. WakaWaka provides this young family with a lifesaving, safe and clean alternative to toxic kerosene lamps.
"Our daughter, Tanuja, goes to school and has a lot of homework,” Rokeya told us. “In the past she used a kerosene lamp in the evenings, but the fumes made her feel sick and that made it hard for her to study. With the WakaWaka she can study better and longer.”
“The WakaWaka is helping us a lot! We don’t have to use a kerosene lamp inside the house anymore, which makes us feel healthier and safer. When I have to get up by night to take care of my baby, I can easily turn on the light. And also when we need to go to the toilet outside we use the solar light. On top of these advantages, we save a lot of money! We feel very happy for receiving the light.”
The WakaWaka light also means a big improvement for Rokeya herself. She avoided using the kerosene lamp in the evenings when cooking, cleaning or feeding her baby because she felt it was dangerous. Kerosene lamps cause frequent and devastating fires, and their toxic fumes can leave families with lifelong health issues.
Families and children experience the devastating effects from inhaling black smoke, and the health problems leave them with fewer hours in the day to work and play.
Taru Miah supports his family by working as a rickshaw driver. Not only are Taru, his wife and his daughter thrilled for the safe, sustainable and bright light in their home, but the family has gained another big advantage: Taru now attaches his WakaWaka to his rickshaw and works by night, which enables him to earn more money for his family.
Habitat for Humanity Nederland collaborated with WakaWaka on its mission to provide as many Habitat families as possible with light and power. A house with safe light and power supports a healthier environment for family members and enables children to study in the evenings.
Habitat for Humanity will be distributing more WakaWaka Lights. Together with Sungevity, a company that aims at making solar power affordable, a shipment of lights to Zambia is being prepared. Read more about their work via www.sungevity.com