Light Libraries consist of school “owned,” solar powered lamps that are loaned out to students when they need them. Similar to checking out a book from a local library, lights are brought home to be used by students and returned to the school by an agreed time. Unite to Light worked with Makhasa School in South Africa to create the first Light Library in 2015. Seeing significant improvements to student test scores, Unite to Light donated 1,000 Luke Lights in 2017 to create a series of Light Libraries across 14 South African secondary schools.
These lamps are an especially valuable resource around the time of Matric Exams (equivalent to high school exit exam), where students may find themselves devoting much time after school to their studies in order to pass their exams and graduate from secondary school. Without solar lights, a student’s ability to study depends on their ability to make use of the limited natural daylight, or expensive, dangerous and polluting kerosene or candles. For most, this means that as soon as night falls, schoolwork must come to a halt.
To gauge the impact that Light Libraries have on a student’s success in school, the Principals of each school that received lights provided three years of historical test data (before solar lights) and agreed to provide three years’ worth of future test data. Understanding changes in pass rates over time would indicate the utility of Light Libraries as a resource for productivity throughout a student’s day.