Hanifa Namazzi is an 80 year-old widow and charcoal vendor who grew up in a polygamous family of 15 people. Her father had 3 wives and the female children were not considered worthy of school fees. Hanifa never received an education and was married as a child at 13 years old. Her husband also was uneducated and they struggled to provide for their family.
She now lives with her daughter and two grandchildren in Gogonya, a village in the Wakiso District of Uganda. She is the only member of the household with a source of income. She supports the family with her small charcoal business, although she reports that her income is unreliable and does not cover their basic needs.
In 2016, Hanifa was identified and vetted by KACCAD, a local community development organization, as a targeted beneficiary for a solar light distribution project funded by Let There Be Light International, an international NGO working to alleviate energy poverty among vulnerable, off-grid communities. As part of the distribution process, Hanifa was taught how best to charge and use the solar light and was educated about the relative benefits of renewable lighting.
Prior to receiving her solar light, Hanifa and her family used a traditional kerosene and wick candle known as “tadooba.”
Hanifa reports that the smoke exposed the family to respiratory problems and other health challenges like eye irritation and itching. Due to the flammability of the kerosene, the family also worried about fire safety in the home. Hanifa noted that the kerosene light was not bright and the expense of the kerosene impacted the family’s ability to afford other necessities. Hanifa also limited the time she spent at her business in the evenings due to a lack of light and the ongoing expense of kerosene.
After receiving a solar light, Hanifa reports that the family no longer purchases kerosene and that the solar light provides steady, reliable light which benefits the entire family. “Since we received the solar light our life changed for the better. We no longer experience respiratory problems and eye itching. We no longer buy kerosene and now use the savings to meet other financial obligations. I can also work at my charcoal business for longer hours at night because the solar light is sustainable.”
The provision of a safe solar light can immediately impact the health, safety, well being, and economic stability of elders and their families.
The solar light improved perceptions of household health and wellness.
The solar light improved perceptions of household fire safety.
The family is saving money on fuel that is used for other basic needs.
The recipient was well informed about the relative benefits of solar vs kerosene lighting.
The provision of a solar light extended the hours of household productivity.