Unite to Light Blog
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Being Homeless During COVID-19

June 1, 2020

Over half a million people are experiencing homelessness in the United States. The COVID-19 pandemic has hit them especially hard as services they have come to depend on are paused in response to the stay-at-home order. One tool that homeless people have to access health care and services is their cell phone, but right now, they have no way to power their phones. Hear from four individuals on how a Solar Charger is helping them cope with COVID-19. 

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Power to Save A Life
A Mother’s Story

May 26, 2020

Life in the Turkana region of Kenya is tough; the people there live a subsistence life by raising animals and fishing. Hunger and malnutrition are realities of daily life. This blog tells of how a mother was able to save the life of her twins with one of our simple Solar Chargers & Battery Banks by selling solar power for her neighbors to charge their phones. 

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Light for the Elderly
International Day of Light

May 16, 2020

Light makes up the very essence of life -- from photosynthesis that enables plants to grow -- to advancements in education, health and communication. At Unite to Light we understand the power of light: that it can increase graduation rates, improve maternal and infant health, aid in disasters and offer hope to people living on the streets. So, on Saturday, May 16th we celebrate the International Day of Light! In this story, read about the incredible impact that light has had on  the lives of the elderly all over the world.

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A Single Solar Light:
In His Own Words 

April 9, 2020

For students living without electricity, having a solar light increases graduation rates by 20-30%. We have seen this success in South Africa when we examine test scores in exit exams before and after the students have access to our solar lights. Giving students the opportunity to study at night is our goal; we aim to boost their education and increase opportunities. But for those of us that live with electricity, the day-to-day reality of these students can be difficult to imagine. We recently received a note from one of these students and want to share it with you here. 

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The Impossible Act of Preparing for
COVID-19 in the Face of Poverty

March 20, 2020

As we brace for the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic in the US, we must not forget the global impact that this pandemic will cause. In places without access to running water and electricity it will be difficult to follow basic sanitation guidelines and social distancing. Finding a ventilator will be next to impossible. We can help by staying home now; giving scientists more time to find treatments and a vaccine. We can also support the organizations working on the ground.  

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2020 #EachforEqual
International Women's Day
March 8, 2020

At Unite to Light we believe that everyone deserves an equal chance. We distribute solar lights to give people that chance and while our lights don’t change lives, (only the people using them can do that for themselves), they do enable opportunities. Opportunities in education, health, safety and community. 

For International Women’s Day we are highlighting how Unite to Light and our partners are enabling a more equitable world, one solar light at a time. 

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Local Partnership Shines Bright
February 1, 2020

We are excited to announce our partnership with Simple Wealth, a company with a mission to transform forgotten metal into beautiful, wearable art. Unite to Light’s mission is to bring light to those without electricity. Access to clean and affordable light and energy is critical to improving health, education and prosperity globally.  To support these efforts, Simple Wealth has designed a custom bracelet with the message ”Shine Bright”and will donate half of all sales so that we can continue to bring light to people living without electricity. 

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2019 Year In Review
December 20, 2019

This year we sent over 12,000 solar lights and chargers around the world. These went to students in South Africa and Haiti, midwives in Bangladesh and victims of disasters around the world. Dozens of partners also took lights around the globe. Everywhere lights go they are improving health, giving opportunity and decreasing greenhouse gas emissions. Learn more about our impact in 2019.

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Public Safety Power Shutoffs,
Battery Power & You
November 18, 2019

The California electric utilities have begun shutting off power to help prevent wildfires. This can mean days without power for people across the state. Discover what you need to know about solar power and battery storage whether you just want to power your phone and internet, or your entire house. This includes discussions of incentives, electric rates and battery capacity. 

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#GivingTuesday
Strategy & Philosophy
November 15, 2019

Unite to Light's president, Megan Birney answers questions from online newspaper Noozhawk on the philosophy, strategy and planning that goes into #GivingTuesday.  Ready how you can help share light around the world and support Unite to Light. 

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Generosity and Resiliency:
Notes from the Field

October 28, 2019

This summer I was privileged to travel to Nairobi and Kenya as part of an outreach program with St. Mary’s church in East Brunswick, NJ. and the IEEE Photonics Society. What surprised me the most was the resiliency and joy I encountered from people who have struggled so greatly and live with so little...


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Giving Energy and Hope to Local Homeless
August 16, 2019
Unite to Light recently teamed with Safe Parking, a program from New Beginnings in Santa Barbara, to provide solar powered cell phone chargers to people experiencing homelessness.  Read how the story of how the project came about, how it was funded and the benefits of safe, reliable and inexpensive power for people living in their vehicles. 
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Solar Power Your Bike Lights
for Burning Man

August 1, 2019
Burning Man--every year, tens of thousands of devotees attend the week-long arts festival and, although there aren't many rules, most people transport themselves around the event on bikes and it is highly advisable to have a bike that is well lit for safety. Many people take the opportunity to turn their bikes into pieces of art with lights and decorations. A unique bike light pattern will also make a bike easy to spot in a sea of bikes at night or on the dark playa.
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Disaster Preparedness:
Build an Emergency Supply Kit

July 25, 2019
When a disaster strikes, it’s too late to think about what you should have packed to weather the storm, and before disaster strikes, it can be daunting to know what to include. All-inclusive kits are expensive and don’t necessarily include items specific to you and your family.

This guide walks you through the basic items so you can build a kit yourself--mostly with items you’ll find around your home.

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Top 5 Travel Gifting Tips
Give Like it Matters

June 18, 2019
There are many reasons to travel: to experience new cultures, to see new places, or maybe to revisit something or someone that had an impact on our lives. When we travel to communities that have fewer resources than we do, we often want to take gifts that will improve the lives of the people in that community. But a well-intentioned gift can be disruptive or even harmful (especially when targeted to children). So how do you know what to take with you when you travel? Follow our tips to ensure your gifts have a positive impact.
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Light Libraries Lead to a Brighter Future
June 4, 2019
The sun is starting to set after a long day in South Africa. With Matric Exams coming up, it is a very busy time of year for students seeking to graduate from high school. Students study as much as they can, but as night falls, they find themselves reading in the dark. To continue studying, some students resort to kerosene lamps. These lamps make it difficult to breathe and can cause severe burns. For these students, success has very strict bounds. In the hopes of eliminating the boundaries to success, Unite to Light has partnered with multiple South African school to provide Light Libraries.
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Midwives Boost Care, Provide Hope For Moms 

April 24, 2019
A solar light may be the most important tool in a midwife's bag. This is the story of Elizabeth,  a midwife in Bangladesh, and how a small light can have a substantial impact in providing much needed maternal and newborn care in rural areas.
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The Importance of Being Nimble

April 16, 2019
In March, Cyclone Idai hit Mozambique and neighboring Zimbabwe. It would turn out to be one of the worst natural disasters in southern African history. A month after landfall the impacts are still developing and people are in need. 

Unite to Light was able to redirect 350 solar Luke Lights from a partner in Zimbabwe to the Zimbabwe Red Cross for disaster recovery and relief.  Read how flexibility and strong partnerships enabled quick action to help people in need. 

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The Impact of Solar Lights in a Disaster

March 4, 2019
On the morning of April 25, 2015, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal. A busy day in the city of Kathmandu turned into chaotic scramble as building after building collapsed onto the ground threatening to trap anyone in its path. The streets that had been full of people moments before the earthquake were now full of ruble. Miles away, the serenity of the countryside - full of lush greenery, low hanging clouds and back dropped by the Himalayan mountains - would disappear as the earthquake created avalanches and mudslides that ripped through entire communities. 
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Basics of Solar Lights
January 23, 2019
Solar use to be expensive but today prices have come down and solar electricity is everywhere. Our satellites and the Mars rover are solar powered, as are homes, toys, outdoor lighting and solar battery packs to charge our electronic devices. Importantly solar electricity is bringing light to the one billion people around the world who live without power. Often these solar lights are replacing kerosene or candles as light sources in the home. This post explores the basics of solar lights  and how they are changing the world.
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How to Pick A Solar Charger & Battery Bank
January 18, 2019
Whether it’s for work, fun or in an emergency, our electronics are crucial tools. We depend on them to stay safe and connected. Trekking adventures, preparedness, and #VanLife are more than just fads, they are ways of life. When we disconnect from the grid, intentionally or unintentionally, we want our power. Solar charging and battery power are essential.

The right charging unit can keep your battery full almost indefinitely, without endangering your electronics or costing too much. Unfortunately, there is a proliferation of low-quality products on the market. This guide will help you decide what type of solar charger and battery bank is right for you. 
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Solar Lights Brighten the Future
December 6, 2018
Having access to clean, safe and reliable light is crucial to improving health, education and prosperity globally. That is why Unite to Light supports projects that give lights to students who can not otherwise afford them. In an effort to understand the impact our lights have had, we are tracking pass through rates (the rate at which students pass from one grade to another successfully) and graduation rates in schools that have received Luke Lights from Unite to Light. 
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Unite to Light & UNFPA Bring Light for Life
November 13, 2018
Under the Safe Birth Even Here campaign, UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, and Unite to Light (UTL) have launched the “Light for Life” project. This initiative will provide solar lights to midwives in humanitarian and conflict zones, as well as to rural regions without access to electricity.
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Unite to Light is a not-for-profit 501(c)3. All donations are tax deductible.
EIN: 27-2942180
Address: Unite to Light, 1117 State Street #19, Santa Barbara, CA 93101
Phone: (805) 617-0590
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