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August 18, 2015 AT 3:00 am

Solar power brings teachers and schoolchildren of Malawi out of the dark #SolarPower


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Solar powered lamps are helping teachers prepare lessons at night and students a chance to read books at night. via the guardian

Young Kennedy is astonished. His face lights up in the single room in the straw-thatched house. So does the book he is reading with his friend, Nellie.

The two excited nine-year-olds from the village of Gumbi in western Malawi have just done what about 600 million others in sub-Saharan Africa have never been able to do – switch on an electric light in their homes to read a book in the dark.

There is a murmur of approval from the small crowd of people craning their heads through the doorway to witness the arrival of solar electricity in the village. “[These] bulbs will change lives. Our days will be longer and nights shorter. We will be like others,” says one mother, Chikumbutso Chaima. “Children will do better at school. They have a future. We have not been forgotten.”

The lamps, provided by the Guardian reader-supported Gumbi education fund, are welcomed, too, at St Martin’s secondary school in Nambuma. “Not only can teachers prepare lessons in the evening, but they can now charge up phones for themselves and others,” says headteacher Acreo Kamera.

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