Crowdfunding Initiative, Dominican Light Project, Brings Solar Lanterns to People Living Off the Grid
Press Release – LOS ANGELES, CA. (APRIL 20, 2016) The Dominican Light Project, launching on Indiegogo on May 2, 2016, aims to light up an entire country, providing a sustainable source of light for people currently forced to live in the dark. Right now, a shocking 88% of the population in the Dominican Republic experience nightly blackouts. Many people are even forced to live off the electricity grid entirely. The Dominican Light Project’s mission is to provide every Dominican home in need a safe source of light. The campaign’s powerful video provides a closer look at the people and local villages who received these solar lanterns during the first phase of this project, and illustrates the urgent need for these continued efforts leading to a solution countrywide. Please click on the following link to view the video: http://bit.ly/23Cu7AP.
For every $25 raised with the Dominican Light Project on Indiegogo, five Dominicans will receive a solar lantern to provide them with a safe source of light. Each lantern will provide 12 hours of bright, LED light per 6-8-hour charge and will eliminate the health and fire risks associated with candles and kerosene lamps. This solution will change the daily lives of each person in each household helped. The Indiegogo link to contribute will go live on Monday morning, May 2; in the meantime to see the impact that campaign contributions will have, please visit the campaign preview page at https://www.indiegogo.com/project/preview/2d373986#/.
The lack of light in the Dominican Republic leaves children without light to study and families without a sense of security. When these families are able to make enough money, they buy kerosene lamps or candles, but those often cause fires, they lead to severe respiratory health problems over time, and they are expensive relative to the average family income. Some children even create makeshift torches to light the paths of their long dark walks to and from school by lighting on fire sticks retrofitted with moldy bread and kerosene.
Children like Rafael (the young boy pictured in the photo below), who live in remote villages far from a city center, wake up every morning at 5:00am to begin their long journey to school. Rafael has spent the better part of his first nine years walking five miles through the pitch black forest and through this darkness, to reach the first bus that will take him to his school. After the first bus, there is another bus, and more distance to walk before he reaches his classroom. Following the school day, Rafael and other children in his community travel the hours back to their village, often arriving at dark with no opportunity to complete their homework or to properly continue their studies. Rafael was one of the lucky children provided a solar lantern during the first phase of distribution by Esenciales J.S. SRL, the social enterprise and activist team behind the campaign. In the year since, Rafael’s family has reported that the new light source cut down his school commute by one full hour, he was able to use that extra hour to study by the lantern’s light, and his grades have improved. For other children in the village like Raul and his four little siblings, the solar lantern was the first physical object that they have owned themselves; even more importantly, the children are no longer forced to navigate the perils of walking to their family outhouse in the dark each morning and night.
To date, Esenciales J.S. SRL has worked in conjunction with functionaries, including Dominican Major League Baseball All-Star Albert Pujols’ Pujols Family Foundation, to provide light to 2,000 people in the Dominican community of Batey Alemán. The team has also successfully lit up the entire village of El Choco, Cabarete amongst others. With the successful funding of the Dominican Light Project Indiegogo campaign, more solar lanterns will be provided to those in the greatest need, and to more families and more children like Rafael, Raul, and his siblings.