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Solar Sister - visit solarsister.org to donate

When people think of poverty, they typically think of people in less economically developed countries suffering without enough food. Whilst this certainly is true, energy poverty is an often forgotten issue which causes a massive amount of damage to economies around the world, in turn decreasing living standards - it is the root of a lot of malnutrition and starvation.

Solar Sister is a charity that aims to tackle this issue - a mammoth task: 25% of the world's population, 1.6 billion people, live without using electricity. This issue particularly impacts women and girls - 70% of those affected are female. This has long term impacts on their lifestyles - due to energy poverty, young girls can't study when they get home from school, or they may not attend school at all because they are gathering firewood, which means they cannot go into business and therefore they get stuck in a cycle of poverty as they ultimately have more children who also have no means to educate themselves.

Solar Sister is based in Rwanda, South Sudan and Uganda, and rapidly expanding. Their mission is to invest in the education of women today to help their future. The benefits of what they offer is twofold - small donations of just $25 can buy solar lights to be given to schoolgirls so they can study after school and to take some of the pressure of collecting fuel off them, meeting both their immediate needs and helping their long term prospects. $500 raised through several donations can provide a woman living in poverty with everything she needs to start a business selling solar lights - this means that she'll receive ample training and all the materials necessary to start generating an income for her family.



The effects of such a program are multiplicative - if one woman can run her own business and make a decent income, then her children will not have to worry about collecting fuel so they, too, will be able to receive an education and to start their own businesses, pulling themselves out of poverty using the tools provided initially by Solar Sister. Indeed, each $1 donation leads to $46 of economic benefit by the end of the first year, which will lead to hundreds of dollars of economic growth by the end of the second year and so on. A key feature of the program is encouraging the women who benefit to spread the word amongst their peers, who will be able to see their success and to be inspired to focus on getting out of the poverty cycle, as well as buying themselves the solar panel lights to help their lifestyles in the short run. Once enough women can be started off in business, with the correct training, a paradigm shift will happen.

Please, please, visit SolarSister.org to find out more, and click 'Donate' to give what you can - everything makes a difference. Usually, micro donations are put together to reach the $500 target, so even if you can't give the full amount, don't worry. See this infographic on where your donation will go:



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