NEW YORK, Sept. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- SunNight Solar, a Texas-based firm, is partnering with the Clinton Global Initiative to launch the Light Haiti Initiative. The Initiative will provide over 500,000 solar powered flashlights to the people of Haiti utilizing innovative, environmentally friendly new technologies. For most of us, lighting our homes is as simple as flipping a switch, yet for one third of the planet, lighting is an expensive luxury. Providing basic lighting can help address issues as critical as literacy by providing children a place to read at night or help protect against sexual violence in places like refugee camps. In the western hemisphere, Haiti is particularly impacted, with over 85% of the population off the electrical grid.
The Light Haiti Initiative will provide two types of portable solar lights, one will be a school and clinic light, designed with a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation to illuminate a room. The second light will be a family light that will illuminate a table or other area to western standards. Both lights use the same technologies, photovoltaic or solar panels, LEDs -- light emitting diodes and rechargeable NiMH AA batteries. NiMH are the most environmentally sensitive batteries available. The lights will provide light each night for up to six hours, charge fully in one day and the batteries can last for up to two years - and are easily replaceable.
Non-profits who receive the lights will also be required to make a contribution to their communities in some way such as tree planting or tutoring. Groups such as Partners in Health, Yele Haiti and Melimnum Relief and Development Services are joining with SunNight Solar in this effort.
People can donate directly to the Light Haiti Initiative through the website www.lighthaiti.org. The larger light will be provided with a donation of $20.00 and the smaller, $10.00.
Background -- Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere with 80% of the population living under the poverty line and 54% in abject poverty. Two-thirds of all Haitians depend on the agricultural sector, mainly small-scale subsistence farming, and remain vulnerable to damage from frequent natural disasters, exacerbated by the country's widespread deforestation. More than 85% of the population lacks access electricity, again, the lowest coverage of electricity in the Western Hemisphere.
This lack of access to electricity and lighting impacts education -- children cannot read or study at night; safety and security, especially for women and children, economics with as much as 30% of income being spent on kerosene for lanterns and small shops and cottage industries close when the sun sets, environmental damage from improper disposal of single use cadmium batteries (we only use NiMH batteries with 750 nights of use) deforestation and carbon emissions from kerosene lanterns, health is negatively impacted by breathing kerosene fumes and many are killed or injured from fires started by kerosene lanterns or candles and overall quality of life - their lives stop when the sun sets.
Comments from the Honorary Chairman -- His Excellency, the Ambassador of Haiti to the United States, Raymond Alcide Joseph
"It is with pleasure that I accept the title of Honorary Chairman of this project for my country. It is somewhat fitting that at this stage of my life, I am still fascinated by a project having to do with light.
At the age of 19, I began a Church monthly newspaper in Cayes, Haiti. Its aim was to institute uniformity in the presentation of Sunday school materials for the churches of southern Haiti of which my father was president. In thinking about a name for the publication, the idea of "light for the mind" struck me, and I said, "We shall call it 'Reyon Limye' -- Creole for "Rays of light".
The idea gained so much acceptability that the American and Canadian missionaries at "Finca", the farm that was turned into a Bible campus, also adopted the name. Thus, "Finca" became "Cite Lumiere", ("City of Lights"). As time went on, we had "Clinique Lumiere", "Radio Lumiere", even "Tele Lumiere".
Now, SunNight Solar is embarking on another lighting system to push back darkness that hinders so many of our citizens from performing simple tasks after the sun goes down. I want to be part of such a noble project whose effect I have already experienced with a recent limited distribution in the town of Petit Goave, some 45 miles southwest of Port-au-Prince. When the electrical blackout forced most people indoors, a vendor armed with her solar flashlight was able to continue with her brisk business of selling food -- at night. She said, "Mesi Bondye, Mesi Mesye Klinntonn! Limye sa a se sa net!" ("Thank you God, Thank you Mr. Clinton! This light is all we needed!")
Let's push back the darkness in Haiti, one solar flashlight at a time!
Raymond A. Joseph
Ambassador of Haiti in Washington, D.C.
About SunNight SunNight Solar is the world leader in the design and manufacture of high performance solar powered portable lighting devices, safely and economically meeting the illumination needs of the two billion people on the planet without access to an electrical grid.
SunNight Solar products also provide an environmentally and value orientated option to the old fashioned single use disposable battery flashlights, which have not changed in design for over a century.
Based in Houston, SunNight Solar was founded and is lead by Mark Bent, who spent more than twenty years living and working in the developing world, as a Marine, American diplomat and international energy executive.
For more information, visit the official website of SunNight Solar www.sunnightsolar.com
SOURCE SunNight Solar