Having recently received another substantial donation of solar lights from the donors at the Bourke Family Foundation, the Zambezi Children in the Wilderness (CITW) team set out to distribute these to the areas where they are needed most, namely the Hwange and Tsholotsho areas. In keeping with the ongoing ‘Lights for Literacy’ programme, our main focus was to issue these lights to Grade 6 students so that they can complete their homework and study for exams in the evenings. Students don’t often get the chance to study during daylight hours due to the long distances many have to walk to get to school, in addition to the chores that they have to complete at home in the evenings. With little to no reliable electricity, it is hugely challenging to study in the evening, with students having to use lighting sources such as candles and fires if they can.
So far, through our partnership with the Bourke Family Foundation, we have been able to distribute approximately 700 lights across our region this year alone. This also includes teachers at each school, providing them with ‘more hours in the day’ to mark and prepare for future lessons.
With the extensive power outages spreading across the country recently, we have found it necessary to expand our impact pool a little further by including other vulnerable institutions such as the Sipepa Clinic, which has been depending on an unreliable diesel generator to power the lighting system in their maternity ward. New mothers are often in complete darkness throughout the night, and the nurses could not be more thankful that this is no longer a concern.
With so many lasting benefits, we would like to once again give thanks to the Bourke Family Foundation. The importance of lighting is often overlooked and underappreciated. However, to those who lack access to it, it is a lifesaving resource, and the gratitude expressed by the nurses, teachers, and students alike is a memory that will not ‘fade into the darkness’ any time soon.