Photo Credit: Freeplay Foundation
Freeplay Energy has been developing some great consumer products over the years, such as the Lifeline Radio, Jonta "human-powered" Flashlight, and the Indigo Lead Lantern. But there is an offshoot of Freeplay we have yet to discuss, which is the non-profit Freeplay Foundation. With the help of the Lemelson Foundation, and green celebrity, Tom Hanks, Freeplay has been working to bring clean and renewable energy lanterns to Rwanda.
The Lifelights will replace the old, polluting, and dangerous kerosene lights currently being used in Rwanda. Compared to the consumer version of the Indigo Lantern, the ones that will be sent to Rwanda this February of 2009 are far more durable (able to withstand extreme weather and environmental conditions) and can be used to light up a larger area for longer periods of time.
The technology behind the Lifelight is primarily LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes), which provide an amazing amount of light for their size, efficiency rating, and non-toxic nature. Like Freeplays consumer brand of products, this lantern can be powered/charged by either sunlight or their own patented "wind-up" technology, which is thankfully far beyond most other "shake" flashlights on the market today.
The Lifelights are designed to be almost indestructible and to last for years with minimal maintenance and cost to the owner. Donors like The Lemelson Foundation and Tom Hanks have enabled the development of this appropriate technology which will bring light to many of the children in Rwanda who have been living in the dark once the sun goes down.
Photo Caption: "A Rwandan secondary school student, 16, compares studying with a kerosene lamp made from a tomato can to studying with a Lifelight." Photo Credit: Freeplay Foundation.
Rwanda continues to have two-thirds of its 10 million population living below poverty level. Most of these people, including one-million estimated orphans under the age of 18, are unable to provide light for themselves to partake in such evening activities as sewing, beading, and most importantly, studying for school.
If you are in a position to help with this cause, Freeplay has launched its "Light of Your Life" fundraising campaign for the holiday season, aiming to raise £200,000 (approx. U.S. $295,000) to provide 10,000 Lifelights to households where they are needed most. Visit http://www.freeplayfoundation.org/wpay4.html for more information.
Here's a video with the head of the Freeplay Foundation talking about the importance of using renewable energy to light Africa: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fpG0AU_pi9k
More Freeplay Products
Freeplay Jonta human-powered light
Freeplay Lifeline Radio
Freeplay Indigo Flashlight: Self-Powered LED Illumination