Solar programme helps children study better

Youth & Careers

VOLUNTEERS from Origin Foundation have assisted Australian school children to create solar-powered lights as part of a programme to improve education in remote schools in Papua New Guinea.
The programme aims to build strong relationships between Australia and PNG school children.
It aims to provide new learning opportunities for students in PNG to read and study at night.
The SolarBuddy programme works to give opportunities for children who are unable to develop necessary skills to break the cycle of poverty.
Statistics have shown that 38 per cent of children under the age of eight in PNG cannot read or write due to lack of access to lighting after dark; remote areas of PNG have less access to electricity.
The Origin Foundation has prepared 1,000 solar-powered lights to reach schools in Morobe: Busamang, Laukanu, Salus, Homiya and Sabaya primary schools.
In partnership with Kokoda Track Foundation (KTF), team members will travel for three days by boat and on foot to deliver 3,900 solar-powered lights.
These lights are for children in recently affected volcanic communities including Mt Ulawun, West New Britain, Manam Island in Madang, Fisherman Island and Rigo in Central.
SolarBuddy chief executive Simon Doble’s mission was to ensure every one of the 2.2 million children living in PNG without access to safe and reliable electricity, benefited from solar-powered lights.
“Many families still use kerosene or firewood to light their homes in PNG which isn’t safe,” he said.
“Energy poverty kills 4.8 million people a year compared to AIDS and malaria – and now we have the solution to end this,” he said.
Origin Energy PNG chief executive Lesieli Taviri said it was rewarding to see the impact of the work of Australian school students and Origin volunteers.
“With the introduction of SolarBuddy lights, children in PNG are studying 78 per cent longer and reliance on kerosene and other dangerous fuels has been reduced by 80 per cent,” Taviri said.
“Since these fuels are the single biggest expenditure for households, that money can now be spent on food and health and education.”

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