Despite the progress made in providing households in South Africa with electricity during the past 26 years, about 10 per cent of those households are still in the dark, according to a recent report by Eskom. This means that thousands of children are deprived of the opportunity to study at night or do their homework, probably jeopardizing their education, through no fault of their own.
Now, in conjunction with Open Range Solar, Airlink has come up with a remarkably inventive, cost-effective and environmentally friendly way to support thousands of children left without electricity in the Polokwane municipal area. They plan on providing solar charging kits to these households and thereby aiding these children to have a chance at a decent life by giving them light to study by.
As part of the Airlink Corporate Social Investment (CSI) programme, the airline has procured and will be distributing 2500 solar charging kits to targeted rural communities in close proximity to our operations, after all, this is where our stakeholders originate from. Ms. Namhla Tshetu, Airlink Executive Manager, Corporate Services, emphasized the importance of taking care of the basics so that these children can focus on the bigger picture.
“The solar charging lighting kits are in response to supporting education opportunities and welfare within non-electrified households, thus assisting school children to study. One day these learners will be our future leaders, consume our products and hopefully be employed as pilots, accountants, engineers etc.,” she said. “How tragic would it be if they are no allowed to reach their full potential because of something as basic as not having light to study and do their homework by? Airlink is a company fully invested in the future of our youth and as such we want to ensure that lighting is the least of their concerns as they carve out their future.”
The product itself is simple, safe and easy to operate. It comprises of a battery operated solar charging lighting kit, including three LED lamps, a torch and a small solar panel. The kit would enable a household to light multiple rooms and is mobile around the outside at night, using the torch. All of these lights are powered directly from the solar panel.
Airlink has appointed SEA to support and partner in the rollout of the kits. SEA will draw on the Polokwane municipality and their “Energy Ambassadors” for assistance in distributing the 2500 solar charging kits. The roll-out will commence on 28th September 2017 in Seshego and will be concluded at the Polokwane International Airport (PIA) Air Show on 7th October in celebration of Transport Month.
If South Africa has any chance of providing a bright future and endless possibilities to its children, we have to start with the basics; things sometimes so blatantly obvious, we miss them entirely. Like providing light to study by.