Traveling through rural India in 2003, Anna Sidana saw a simple need that was out of reach for the people there, the need for safe, bright light. She went home and raised enough money for 250 portable “MightyLights” to donate to the children of Rajasthan, India. After seeing the amazing response, she convinced her employer, eBay Inc., to donate one light for every employee as a holiday gift. EBay responded with 15,000 MightyLights and – One Million Lights was born.
“In many parts of the world, safe, adequate light at home is a luxury few people can afford,” said John Donahoe, president and CEO of eBay Inc. “Once we learned of Anna’s mission, we immediately knew we wanted to help. eBay empowers entrepreneurs, and Anna is a social entrepreneur who has identified a simple solution to a complex problem. eBay is thrilled to help Anna make a difference in so many children’s lives.”
Anna’s goal is to provide one million lights to schools, children and their families in remote villages of India, Asia, Africa, and South America. These sturdy, solar powered, LED lights will greatly improve the quality of living in these areas. The lights will eliminate the many dangers from lung damaging kerosene lamps commonly used in poorer rural areas. It is also a quest to eliminate poverty by light. The light will allow the children to study after dark, and permit their parents to work later to increase their income. Improving health as well as economic conditions for entire communities.
“I am from India, and I have seen first-hand the importance education plays in providing opportunity to young people,” said Sidana. “My father started a school in India 45 years ago, and when I visited it with my own children in 2003, it was so clear that something as simple as adequate light at home would allow students to get so much more out of their educations. I knew that giving them safe, environmentally-sound light would have a profound impact.”
The MightyLight was developed by Cosmos Ignite Innovations, a company made up of young socially-conscious entrepreneurs from India and Stanford University.
Anna’s dream has a long way to go to reach one million lights, but she has already made a very measurable impact on the ones who have received a MightyLight. One Million Lights (OML) has distributed about 2,500 solar lights since Aug 2008 and are on track to do close to 4,000 by the end of the summer.
One Million Lights is confident they will reach their goal through a network of partnerships with NGO’s and gifts from individuals as well as organizations, and up to this point, OML has…
• Allowed 6,250 children and their families to enjoy clean, solar light rather than use kerosene lamps that require purchased fuel and create noxious fumes
• Added 1.5 million hours of safe and healthy study and work in the home
• Detoxified and made more enjoyable the 2.7 million hours that would have been spent in close proximity to a harmful kerosene lamp
• Enabled our light recipients to keep the 1/4 of their income that was being put towards purchasing kerosene fuel. This saved income is generally used to buy needed items like medicine, books and other education expenses, food, and clothing
• Offset 500 tonnes of carbon emissions, that’s 200 kg of carbon per family
• Greatly reduced the significant chance of death for our light recipients due to constant indoor pollution and accidental burns
Anna had this to say about the One Million Lights foundation, “it warms my heart when I get letters such as one from a young girl in India who decided to continue her studies because, with the light, she could study at night. Otherwise she said that life is so hard, she would have given up or Kombo, a young boy from Kenya, who only got one meal a day and had to run chores after school to buy kerosene. With a solar light he can study at night and save money he would have spent on Kerosene. I also just returned from Peru where there is a strong culture that is in harmony with nature. And the fact that we are harnessing energy from the sun really resonated with the villagers. They invited us to their homes and we came up with a plan to distribute lights”.
Rural communities will be a little brighter thanks to Anna and One Million Lights, you can brighten a child’s life by donating today.
One Million Lights’ mission is to provide lighting to rural communities around the world with the goal of improving the lives of adults and children.
- Organization Type: Non-Profit
- Website: onemillionlights.org
- Founder(s): Anna Sidana
- Founded: 2008
- Location:Palo Alto, CA
- See complete company list here
Sources: onemillionlights.org; cosmoegnite.com