The Aptech Africa office in Central African Republic has donated solar lights to children attending the Lakouanga Public Boys and Girls School as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility Program.
Many students in Central African Republic don’t have access to electricity. Thus, children who are in school and want to study after dark use of candles and kerosene lanterns. Candles and kerosene lanterns pose as both a fire hazard and a health concern because of the toxic fumes they emit.
From a beneficiary perspective, solar saves money that would otherwise be spent on kerosene, paraffin, and candles. Up to 15% of a family’s income can be spent on kerosene, candles, or batteries. It is estimated that solar saves the average family $70 per year for just lighting. Solar also can save the time and money needed for charging phones.
The social impact solar has is immense. Solar lights allow people to work at night in a well-lit setting, reducing the strain on their eyes and allowing them to have longer more productive working times. It also increases the amount of time that small businesses can stay open. Solar lights allow children to study in the evenings, improving the academic performance as well. Kerosene and paraffin are extremely bad for the respiratory system. Studies show that using kerosene lamps for a year is similar to smoking 298 cigarettes. A ton of carbon is emitted by 1 kerosene lamp in 5 years. Solar lights reduce inhaled fumes and studies have shown 50% improvements in respiratory health for families that switch from kerosene to solar. Solar lighting also reduces the risk of fires or burns from paraffin or kerosene.
Aptech Central African Republic is working to help replace candles and kerosene with solar, allowing children all across Central African Republic to study at night without putting their health and safety at risk.