Arlington Academy of Hope Uganda
Arlington Academy of Hope (AAH) is a non profit organization working in the rural eastern region of Uganda specifically in Bumwalukani- Bududa district. It started in 2004 founded by John and Joyce Wanda who are natives of Bududa and Namisindwa districts respectively. The organization has since then worked tirelessly to promote education, health care and community empowerment through its holistic programs. In 2021, AAH Uganda received a donation of 1,000 Luke lights that they distributed to students at Arlington Junior School (AJS) and Matuwa Junior School (MJS). Most children in this community rely on paraffin candles for light at night. AAH Uganda is confident that these lights contributed to the massive improvement in student performance that occurred that year.
This year, AAH Uganda plans on distributing our Luke Lights to children to use at night at home with the hope that this will allow other students in the family to benefit from them as well. While these lights will be exclusively used at home, they will remain property of the school.
DHDI: Community Digital Health Collab
Digital Health Disparities Initiative (DHDI) is a digital collab working to reduce community health threats through localized digital strategies that are scientifically informed and women-led in conflict and climate-impacted settings. In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), acute malnutrition jumped from 13.5 million (2019) to 21 million (2020) and more recently to 26 million (2021). Responding to a need for innovative solutions, this project aims to empower Congolese women via collective digital storytelling to document climate-induced dietary shifts.
The project will take place in two districts-- Uvira and Fizi-- in the South Kivu province of DRC. These communities are burdened with three environmental threats: protracted armed conflict, the aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis interrupting major aid in food supplies and recovery support, and direct climate impacts. Notably, traditional crops that women have relied on to grow — for family consumption and selling — are not growing anymore. Compounding this is an electricity crisis in DRC. Specifically, there are 72 million people without access to electricity in DRC, according to the World Bank. With only 19% of the population accessing electricity, mobile networks, and innovative solutions are critical to mitigating escalations in climate health challenges in DRC. Given that this project revolves around collecting digital stories and documenting food insecurity-related images with community women, a critical logistic measure is maintaining mobile phone charges. The donated Chandler Chargers will equip the project's community facilitators to maintain personal safety and charged mobile phones.
FOB Hope is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing meaningful assistance to homeless veterans. They work with Veterans in King County, Pierce County, and the State of Washington. They are committed to providing a safe and supportive environment for veterans to get the help and resources they need. Their mission is to be instrumental in solving the tragedy of death among veterans experiencing homelessness through their Veterans Village Program which provides housing assistance, job search assistance, and access to mental health services. Their goal is to help veterans get back on their feet, reintegrate into society, and live with dignity. This year, FOB Hope plans to distribute our Luke Lights and Chandler Chargers to the shelters in their Veterans Village in Tacoma, WA. The shelters that the veterans live in do not have electricity and instead are provided with propane heaters at night to deliver heat. Unite to Light products will be used at the Veterans Village to assist with lighting and improve access to safe electricity in the community.
Girl Up Initiative Uganda (GUIU)
Girl Up Initiative Uganda (GUIU) has a mission of providing young women and girls with opportunities to succeed and thrive as leaders in their communities through holistic education and economic empowerment. They aim to build a vibrant movement of girls and young women through transformative leadership, sexual and reproductive health education, and skills development with a vision of a gender-equal world where girls thrive and lead. Since 2012, Girl Up Initiative Uganda (GUIU) has been at the forefront of girls’ education and leadership development in Uganda, especially within low-resourced urban slum communities. These often overlooked urban girls and young women face the double burden of cyclical, feminized poverty and patriarchy, resulting in poor educational, economic, and sexual and reproductive health (SRH). Rapid urbanization, often at the expense of low-income communities, limits access to basic amenities such as electricity, clean water, and sanitation facilities.
Luke Lights will be distributed at GUIU’s 2023 Big Sisters Camp, a five-day residential camp that engages their Big Sisters — graduates from their flagship Adolescent Girls Program (AGP) who are continuously engaged in advocacy and leadership activities — to strengthen their ability to mentor young AGP participants. The Luke Lights will provide a source of sustainable lighting and safety for girls residing in these marginalized communities so that they are able to actively engage in their education by reading at home and safely accessing sanitation facilities.
the positive impact of our Chandler Chargers on their client’s access to follow-up and emergency care was significant and immediate. Their clients were able to secure housing, follow up on prescriptions, secure benefits and employment, and call for 911 care when then their life was threatened by violence.
This year, HRTC plans to distribute our solar Chandler Chargers to their clients living on the streets who access them primarily at their mobile mental health and substance pop-up sites located in four neighborhoods throughout San Francisco. Their goal is to improve their client’s access to reliable electricity sources and safe, reliable communication access to at least one of the following: emergency and follow-up medical care, housing and other resources, as well as for their clients who are in domestic violence, trafficking, or other incredibly dangerous circumstances where access to a charged phone may save their life.
Healthcare in Action
Healthcare In Action’s (HIA) mission is to improve the lives of people experiencing homelessness through quality holistic care. They aim to break down the barriers to accessing essential services by bringing healthcare and social services directly to people experiencing homelessness wherever they live; under bridges, along sidewalks, in shelters, and everywhere in between. Their vision is that all people experiencing homelessness have access to quality healthcare that addresses their mental and physical health needs. They serve patients experiencing homelessness through an innovative “street medicine” approach by contracting with Medicare and Medicaid health plans as well as hospitals and health systems. HIA currently serves over 600 patients across all teams in California. Approximately 2/3 of these patients are experiencing unsheltered homelessness.
HIA plans to distribute our solar Chandler Chargers to their teams across California to equip each medical van with solar chargers to be distributed to patients during their clinical visits. The chargers will aid their clients in keeping their phones charged to not only improve access to medical and social services, but also provide an essential lifeline to loved ones and leisure activities. Solar chargers also enable their patients to bring light to their encampments at night and keep phones charged to use their phones as all people do: to engage and access the digital world around them.
Helping Hands of Haywood
Helping Hands of Haywood is a nonprofit organization that strives to expand and add valuable programs and provide vital items needed to increase the well-being of their community, especially to those who are disenfranchised, experiencing homelessness, or residing in insecure shelter in Haywood County and western North Carolina. Their vision is to be able to provide necessary emergency shelter, so that all Haywood County residents have a safe place to work on their stability goals. Their Street Outreach Team connects with individuals, families, and couples that stay in tents, under bridges, and places not meant for human habitation multiple times per week, on cold or rainy nights and days, and on every national holiday.
Helping Hands of Haywood provides basic survival items based on availability and need, and link people to other resources. Adequate lighting is a major safety issue when living life without shelter, and they aim to be able to provide safe light devices to each individual experiencing homelessness in their area. During connections with neighbors experiencing homelessness, they find that power banks and flashlights are one of the most needed items. Helping Hands of Haywood will distribute Unite to Light Chandler Chargers to individuals in their community as needed.
Universal Human Rights Initiative
Universal Human Rights Initiative (UHRI) is a non-profit organization based in Los Angeles, CA. UHRI was founded in 2016 by Dr. Noah Bardach and Hope Rieser Farley on the belief that the defense of human rights begins with education. They work to promote interest in and action for human rights through three pathways: 1) globally, in partnership with the United Nations, through the dissemination of translations and recordings of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; 2) through providing free online resources to educators to weave human rights content and action opportunities into K-12 curriculum; and 3) through face to face intergroup dialogues that promote empathy and action.
UHRI partnered with Unite to Light in both 2020 and 2021, where our donation of Chandler Chargers benefitted the unhoused community’s daily living activities. This year, they plan to distribute our Chandler Chargers to their access center in Mar Vista and the Salvation Army in Santa Monica to improve the lives of the unhoused residents they serve. Their project aims to both alleviate the daily insecurity of not having anywhere to charge essential devices and to build bridges between the housed and unhoused community.
Thanks for tuning in with us and learning about our growing network of partners. We are in awe of the fantastic work they are doing here in California and around the world! Help fund even more partners for next year's Gift of Light Partner Program: