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A homemade solar lamp for developing countries

Posted April 15, 2014
A homemade solar lamp for developing countries
Credit: EPFL

The solar lamp developed by the start-up LEDsafari is a more effective, safer, and less expensive form of illumination than the traditional oil lamp currently used by more than one billion people in the world. An integral part of this young start-up from Lausanne is an educational three-day workshop organized locally and led by globetrotters trained by the start-up to educate and train the beneficiaries.

To overcome the many problems posed by kerosene lamps used by 1.6 billion people across the globe, LEDsafari has developed an ingenious system for a do it yourself lamp made from equipment available on site, such as electrical wire, a mobile phone battery and empty bottles. More than 200 people in India, Kenya and Tanzania who attended the workshop are already receiving the economic and health benefits of this ingenious system and are enjoying daily light through this process.

Using kerosene poses many problems. Financial problems are first: the $2–$3 per week spent on fuel often represents 20% of a family’s budget. Health is of equal concern: kerosene is extremely toxic when burned, and daily use equals the inhalation of smoke from 40 cigarettes, often increasing the risk of serious lung diseases, according to a recent study by the University of Berkeley.

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