Revision as of 19:36, 13 April 2020 by ***** (***** | *****)
A simple solar light has allowed Babirye Verena to increase her household income while keeping her children safe.
Down a winding, bumpy dirt road forty minutes outside the town of Kikonda in central Uganda live Babirye Verena and her three children. Verena carries the responsibilities of both farming and parenthood, as her husband lives and works over three hours away in the capital of Kampala. The 28-year-old mother’s home is modest and undecorated, except for a few colorful mats and an inspirational sign hanging on the wall. Like many women in her village, Verena is a farmer by day with a special skill by night: weaving.
She spins bright fibers into intricate floor mats that she sells at the local market. Because traditional kerosene lighting is too expensive to use every night, Verena could usually only make one mat per month, weaving in the precious few daylight hours not spent tending to her farm or her children.
However, five months ago things changed. After giving birth to her third child Francis, Verena received a solar light through the Safe Births + Healthy Homes pilot program. In rural Uganda today, a mere 65% of deliveries are handled by trained birth attendants, with the remainder taking place in the community.The program aims to incentivize women to give birth at the health clinic in order to drive better health outcomes for mothers and babies alike, while empowering the household with the freedom of a solar light.
With her solar light, Verena’s life is brighter in many ways. She can now weave into the evening hours, increasing her output by 200% to three mats each month, putting the additional funds towards school fees. She can also safely allow her children to use the light to read and complete their homework at night without fear of burns or respiratory problems common with kerosene usage
Verena smiles with pride as she shows off her handiwork and explains how the solar light has impacted her family. “Before getting the light, we would spend many evenings in the darkness because we didn’t have money for kerosene. Now I can weave my mats late into the night and better provide for my children.”