During the COVID-19 pandemic, as children were trying to "school from home" in mud huts, without electricity, these problems became even more concerning. In the spring of 2020, ChildFund and Unite to Light teamed up to distribute solar Luke Lights to the neediest of the needy children in Sierra Leone. Almost 1000 lights were given to school children in Kailahun, Bombali, Koinadugu and Falaba Districts. These are some of their stories.
"I was always tempted to go and study under the streetlight, but it’s very far from where I live, ’’ said Samah, one of the beneficiaries of the light.
While schools are opening up again, it is still difficult for students to study in the afternoon. ‘’It’s difficult to come from school and study again in the afternoon. After school, I launder my uniform, do some house chores, and have some rest. So, at night, I would have rested to catch up on studies. But the only way I can catch up on studies is when I have access to light,’’ Samah said.
These solar lights have ignited night study habits among school going children, a culture that was fading away in communities due to the lack of electricity. ‘’The light has been of great help. I am now using it to study at night. I don’t want anything to stop me from achieving my goal of being a lawyer in the future," Samah mentioned.
Prince, aged 13, a pupil in Bombali District, would like to be the President of the Republic of Sierra Leone one day. Like Samah, Prince does not have access to electricity. Prince is grateful for his solar light: "It’s bright enough to make me study for over an hour. I am enjoying night studies."
Eleven-year-old Kantie is a pupil from Koinadugu District. She is also preparing to take the National Primary School Examination (NPSE) that will allow her to continue to junior secondary school. ‘’I did not have time for my book at night. But now, using the light given to me, I can study at night, and I will not stop!’’ said Kantie.