Flight Centre gifted 6,000 SolarBuddy solar lights to students in need

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On Saturday 01 December, SolarBuddy working in partnership with Global Citizen, the Flight Centre Travel Group (FCTG) and Adopt-a-School Foundation delivered 6,000 solar lights to students who didn’t have access to reliable lighting ahead of the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100, presented and hosted by the Motsepe Foundation. The festival celebrated Nelson Mandela’s legacy and called on world leaders to take critical action to reduce poverty and provide everyone with a chance to achieve their highest aspirations.

Donated by FCTG the lights were gifted to students across eight schools in Thari Safe Park, Botshabelo, Free State. The Thari programme supports vulnerable women and children and aims to provide a safe environment for all students in communities plagued by high levels of unemployment, violence, crime and skills shortage. The first 300 lights were handed out to students at their year-end party, with the remainder of the lights to be delivered early next year.

Across the globe 1.4 billion people live without electricity and the results are devastating – condemning billions to darkness, ill health, unfulfilled futures and repeated cycles of poverty. Families that rely on traditional fuels for lighting, such as firewood, spend several hours each day collecting fuel. This burden falls disproportionately to women and children and robs them of an education and income-generating work. Indoor air pollution, the result of using kerosene for lighting, leads to millions of deaths each year, damages eyesight and limits opportunities.

While Botshabelo is electrified there are serious infrastructure problems in the community, which results in frequent power outages often lasting for days. The gifted LED solar lights are a SolarBuddy innovation that provide up to 16 hours of light and emit zero carbon emissions. They are a sustainable option that will minimise reliance on toxic kerosene during these outages, enabling children to complete their homework and improve their sense of safety and security after dusk.

Flight Centre staff assembled the solar lights at key events throughout the year while participating in SolarBuddy’s innovative CSR education program. The program raises awareness about energy poverty, the benefits of renewable energy and includes a hands-on solar light building activity. To date the Australian charity SolarBuddy has delivered 63,000 lights to 21 countries in partnership with schools and leading organisations across the globe impacting 320,000 lives.

The donated solar lights showcase the practical actions taken by global citizens working to achieve the UN’s Global Goals by 2030.

Simon Doble, Founder & CEO of SolarBuddy says,

“Education is a basic human right and we are proud to be partnering with the Flight Centre Foundation, Global Citizen and Adopt-a-School Foundation who are helping us to achieve our mission to provide safe, reliable, effective and innovative solar energy solutions to communities who suffer from the limiting effects of energy poverty.”

Diane Cleary, Project Manager, Flight Centre Foundation South Africa says,

“Brighter Futures is about the collective impact our people can create when we unite around the globe. Our partnership with SolarBuddy has shown how a single light can transform the future of a child. Imagine what 20,000 lights can do to brighten futures, educating and empowering the next generation. That’s one light for each of our Flight Centre family. That is a bright future.”

Steven Lebere, Executive Director, Adopt-a-School Foundation says,

“Adopt-a-School Foundation, through the support of the Cyril Ramaphosa Foundation established the Botshabelo Safe Park to provide children with a secure space where they can complete homework under supervision and benefit from; remedial and reading programmes; peer support groups; structured life skills programmes and HIV/AIDS prevention programmes. Critically, the Safe Park gives social workers the opportunity to detect and identify signs of abuse. Pivotal to the success of Thari has been the coming together of multiple partners with a shared vision. This donation of 6000 solar lights is a wonderful example of the transformative power of collaboration.”