Lights for learning

All around Australia, Origin volunteers and school children are working together to make solar-powered lights for Papua New Guinea (PNG) communities living in energy poverty.

The Origin Foundation has partnered with SolarBuddy, an Australian charity working to improve the educational outcomes of children throughout the South Pacific, South East Asia and Africa, by distributing portable solar lights.

The solar-powered lights are easy to operate, carry and charge. Without them, school students must rely on dangerous and unsustainable sources of fuel like kerosene, diesel, wood or candles to study after dark. Despite many years of strong economic growth, much of the population of our closest neighbour, PNG, remains overwhelmingly poor, with only 7 per cent having access to the electricity grid

“Despite many years of strong economic growth, much of the population of our closest neighbour, PNG, remains overwhelmingly poor, with only 7 per cent having access to the electricity grid. “

Despite many years of strong economic growth, much of the population of our closest neighbour, PNG, remains overwhelmingly poor, with only 7 per cent having access to the electricity grid. PNG has a young population, with 40 per cent under the age of 15.

SolarBuddy lights help children living in remote communities to study when the sun goes down, providing the opportunity for these young people to use education as a means of lifting their communities out of poverty. Results show that students are studying up to 78 per cent longer with a solar light.

During FY2019, more than 360 Origin volunteers helped almost 3,000 Australian students to become part of the solution. Together they have assembled over 1,000 solar-powered lights in 30 schools from Caboolture to Perth and Wagga Wagga to Hobart. Australian students participating in the program learn about the potential humanitarian impact of careers in science, technology, engineering and maths and improve ethical and intercultural understanding.

“We are proud to be involved in a program which not only helps to teach students about science and engineering but is also designed to help those in need.”

Mrs Lorna Cogle , Principal of Narangba Valley State School

Narangba Valley State School in Brisbane was the first to participate in the program, in August 2018. Principal Mrs Lorna Cogle said, “We are proud to be involved in a program which not only helps to teach students about science and engineering but is also designed to help those in need.”

Year 6 student Heather, shared that she “felt so special that I’m in this class and able to help people in Papua New Guinea who aren’t as privileged as us.”

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