I’m a co-founder of Connected. United. 4Change, and Bumpe, Sierra Leone, is C.U.4C‘s first international partner school. The school in Bumpe had a lot of amenities and was a very integral part of the community until the rebel war (1991-2002) destroyed it. Now the school has a lack of electricity, technology, bathrooms, staff, and general resources. Currently, the school is running off of a diesel power generator which is very difficult and costly to use. The Bumpe people’s two biggest concerns are the lack of sustainable power and the high early marriage and teenage pregnancy rates.

Hindo Kposowa, from Bumpe, Sierra Leone, explains the issue and the root cause,

“Poverty, especially in rural Sierra Leone, has caused many girls to drop out of school as a result of teenage pregnancy and early marriage. Children in our local communities are obliged to join their parents in the farms after school to help with farm work. Hence, the only time for students to study and do their homework is at night. Bumpe is without electricity supply! Only 1% of the population (mostly business centers) own generators. Many families can only afford one flashlight for the entire household – powered with non-rechargeable batteries which are not sustainable and at times difficult for parents to purchase. During exams, students go out unwillingly to study by business centers powered with a generator. Girls in such situation are many times sexually abused – leading to teenage pregnancy and trauma.”

Hindo came up with a solution that encompasses both issues,

“One solar lantern will help a girl to study at home. This will prevent sexual abuses against girls going out at night in search of generator power supply to study or sexually trade their body to afford candles or non-rechargeable batteries for solar lanterns.” Additionally, there are countless studies that link high early marriage and teen pregnancy rates to a lack of education. If we can keep girls in school, we can help them receive a higher education and decrease the need for them to marry early- whether it’s because they feel the need to have someone to provide for them or because they get pregnant early and have no choice. While the whole infrastructure of the school won’t have electricity, the solar lanterns benefit the school immensely. They give each individual student the ability to study at their home, instead of the school having to use a generator on nights before a big test. The school can then save their generators and money for emergencies.

Our project will have a long lasting impact. Hindo explains, “One solar lantern will serve a girl throughout her secondary school education. Helping or capacitating the girls in this situation will prevent and reduce girl’s vulnerability from teenage pregnancy and sexual harassment. Many girls will make it to college and after college, it will help boost a nation’s economy, increase life expectancy rate, provide room for healthy families and lavage gender equality.”

Help us raise money at our gofundme “Connected. United. 4 Change.” There are lots of other ways to get involved as well. Check out our Call to Action on the menu bar.

 

CC BY-SA 4.0 Can solar lanterns change girls’ lives in Sierra Leone? by Abby is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

4 Comments
  1. Profile photo of Sean
    Sean 9 months ago

    I think this is a great idea and campaign, since it is such a simple thing to do. I never realized how important something as common as a lightbulb could help educate people, and improves life in Sierra Leone. If something as simple as buying lightbulbs will help the world and improve over quality of life then this program will be great and accomplish a lot.

  2. Profile photo of Jessica
    Jessica 9 months ago

    I am so impressed that you were able to notice and fix an injustice in the world. Electricity is something many of us take for granted. It may seem small to provide light to people at night. However, it is changing their worlds and making it easier for them to succeed in their school work and beyond.

    • Profile photo of Abby Author
      Abby 9 months ago

      Jessica, thank you so much! We feel the same way!

    • Profile photo of Gigi
      Gigi 9 months ago

      I agree with you jessica! It’s really amazing how such a simple thing powered by solar energy can dramatically change the lives of people in Sierra Leone. I think this idea is very cool and has the potential to change so many lives by giving people the resources to be in good study conditions where people don’t have to be paranoid of being sexually abused.

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